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The first time I saw this movie I was bored to tears. Having bought it
a buck for my ingrained love of Rickman and Reedus, I wasn't expecting
and that's what I got...at first. There's a twist ending, which made me
cock an eyebrow and proceed to tell my fellow film lover friends the
plotline. Though I warned them that it wasn't a good movie, they insisted
show them. I took a deep breath and prepared myself to be bored again.
Instead I was enthralled, seeing the very subtle actions and expressions
that foreshadow the ending, and hearing the dialogue with entirely new
meanings. It was BRILLIANT! The pacing is slow, and yes the sound verges
on sucking (get a home theatre system and turn it up really loud so you
hear all the good stuff). Once you overlook those faults, and see it the
second time, you realize that this truly is one of those film gems that
treasure and bring out on a dark rainy night to show your unsuspecting
friends. It's different, and obviously there are few out there who will
really appreciate it. But for those of us that do, it's
The acting is phenomenal, the setting and cinematography are breathtaking, and every word of dialogue has a distinct undertone. I recommend it to everyone - you can hate me for it only AFTER you've seen it a few times - if you still don't like it...then see it again.
I think this movie is different apart from most films I've seen. It was
exciting in a way, and no matter what others say, I say, I was
surprised about the final solution. Certainly didn't see it coming!!
Although it's sad, it's worth watching.. I can't think of any movie
that would be like this! Actors knew what they were doing. If you say
this movie sucks, you say probably what most people would say. But, if
someone says that this movie is ordinary, I absolutely don't agree. And
Norman Reedus should be more noticed.
Maybe I'm freak but I liked this very much. It was kind of mess, but who cares? I'm tired of boring and ordinary movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well...what can I say about this one? To be honest, after watching it I
left sitting there dumbly, my mouth half agape, trying to pick out what I
had just seen. I don't think I could give a very good
for this, but I would like to comment on the film. From here there are
severe spoilers, so read on at your own risk.
Dark Harbor is the brain child of Adam Coleman Howard, a meticulous writer/director with a critical eyes for detail and meaning. Some people feel he puts too much thought into his details. One gentlemen, in a DH review said "...the couch was suppose to have symbolism? I didn't get it..." Personally, I think great attention to details, especially the ones no else would notice, is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. Another is understanding and accepting the fact that most people will not notice these additions. For needless symbolism, I must give Howards props.
The film was interesting in its use of an old plot with a new twist. The cheating lover kills the wife/husband so they can be with the person they love. Very used, yet still equally as effective at plucking the strings that make up humankind. The homosexual twist of the plot doesn't really change the meaning, just makes the slap the audience gets at the end even harder--not a bad thing in my opinion.
Several people have critiqued DH as an attempt to bait "proper" viewers into an intriguing world just to slam them with an attack on modern society's politics and issues. I think these people are just homophobic. Alan Rickman has also been accused of being gay due to this role. All I have to say for that is this: Can you say acting? Try it with me...act-ing. Act-ing. Now together: acting. Very good. I think it's shallow, insecure people who find issues with films that use real life to make a point about real life. I apologize to all the delusional folks out there, but there are gay people in this world.
Hmm... This is one of the reasons I am not sure how I feel about the film. I am not opposed to the use of nudity as symbolism or for shock value, as long as its ultimate intention is to make a point, not just to see someone waving themselves out in the wind. In this particular instance, I can see where the use of the scene would add to the movie. However, I think it would have benefited the entire screen usage if it had been done with a slightly larger bit of reflection. There was a hasty de-robing, followed by a "transitional" swim to shore, and a self-realizing ascension of the stairs. All of this is well put together and effective. I only think it would have been more of a, "That was in depth," than a, "He was naked!" if Howard had allowed Rickman to think to the camera a little more before he started stripping. Obviously symbolizing his internal transition, the scenario left out the crisis, making it spontaneous and unrealistic for an interpretation of his emotional change. What we end up with is nude Rickman jumping off a boat followed up by a generously lengthened back-end sequence: effective and useful if you can get over the "He was naked!" thought quickly enough. This is defiantly a scene better taken in by an audience who already knows it's going to happen.
Alan Rickman: Rickman does a wonderful job of melding with the other two actors to create a believable film. There are some small problems with his character, but I think those are more of a directorial issue. Whether he himself added to them by suggesting these direction incidents, I cannot say. There were several points at which he dropped his dull, flat American accent for a moment of his usual speech. These happenings only added to the blandness of all American speakings. Though robbed of his usual vocal power, Rickman proves that there is more to him than voice as his acting maintains its high standard.
Polly Walker: Walker shows her own talent in Dark Harbor as she swings from the critical wife to the wronged lover, and then back, and to several other places along the way. She holds most of the character action together as Rickman and Reedus rarely interact with each other on screen, but through her. The only issue I have with her character is the struggling indifference to the acts of the others. Alexis seems to fall out of character a few times, going from the seemingly assertive business type to a passive observer, most notably in the scenes she shares with the young stranger.
Norman Reedus: I had never seen Reedus act in anything prior to watching to this film. He did well, I think, for the part he was supposed to play. The "sexy mushrooms" scenes were a bit of a stretch, but I think Reedus has found a way to make fungus appealing, even if only because the viewer associates it with rolling drunkenly in fern saplings with a dark stranger--a fantastical thought which had, until present, never entered my mind. There are parts where one must wonder if the part was poorly written for a line or two, or if Reedus just wasn't in the mood to work that day, but these are relatively easy to over-look as the film is swept along to another angle.
On the whole, I think Dark Harbor was an interesting film full of visual usage that I can not say was always effective. But, learning from Dave, I find crass generalizations are often better left by the wayside when it comes to something as varied as human nature, a heavily running theme in this movie. DH is best served on a warm plate, so I would suggest checking reviews and venturing a few spoilers, unless you are the type who can watch a long, jerky film and comfortably say, "Let's go back for another try; it may be different if I watch it again."
"It's funny your worst nightmare always seems so far away!"
Dark Habour's characters, a married couple (Alan Rickman & Polly Hunter) and a vagabond (Norman Reedus), are slipping into a game full of hidden sexual energy and treason. Now-and-then tantalizing breaks increase the tensions and give much space for interpretations. Good acting and a story which, if not using the brain, will leave you in confusion. You have to watch it twice at least. The very strength lies in its unconventionality and in Alan Rickman, of course. Those who love him will love this movie.
Conclusion: It is not a typical prime time movie but Well Done !
You're not going to like this film. Why? Well, it's a remake of Roman Polanski's very, very dark Knife in the Water, which he made in Poland. The acting in this film is superb. But, it's not a happy story: it has violence, deceit, duplicity, perfidity and is not one to see on a downer. But, again, Richman is excellent. Indeed, can anyone doubt he is one of our truly great actors?
I saw Dark Harbor at the '98 Seattle Film Festival. Filmed against a autumnal Maine backdrop, this movie boasts an excellent cast and a plot that keeps you guessing throughout. At times eerie, at times funny, I have to say that it stayed with me for days after seeing it. Rickman and Walker are wonderful as the icy marrieds and Reedus is someone you'll be hearing more from, I'm sure. The opening shot of a winding, deserted road in a downpour at dusk (and the score that accompanied it) set the tone so well -- just terrific. Nice, nice work from a new-ish director/screenwriter and his talented crew.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A few things to touch on as a response to the earlier person's comment.
You just have to pay attention to what is going on in the film.
(I guess they are spoilers)
The red stuff under David's mouth? Poison ivy, the wife says not to scratch it or else "it will spread".
David goes "insane" because the stranger is telling HIM to get out of the house, which probably proves David's theory of an affair happening between the wife and stranger; he runs after the man.
David does not lose him in the woods, he simply hits the stranger a couple of times and leaves it to his wife to pick up the pieces.
Only the wife eats the mushroom.
I must say, after that one point with the wife and stranger, I began to feel disappointed. But the ending made up for the entire film.
And for that and the very last scene... this is one of my favorite movies ever. I should have put it together earlier, but let myself get sidetracked. I was really surprised, honestly.
This film is interesting, to say the least. But if you are not watching this for the performances that the actors give, I'd say you better let this one go, because that is all that keeps this certain film together.
This is one of my all time favorite movies, it's great to watch in groups, I find. It's also great for any Alan Rickman fan, he does such a wonderful job. It's engrossing, entertaining, very surprising... you have to watch it twice, at least. I haven't watched it with anyone who didn't like it or at least find it worthwhile.
Having read some of the previous reviews, I was highly disappointed to see
that not everyone enjoyed this film... Right now, let me tell you, if you
are not an Alan Rickman fan, you may want to consider skipping this
Being a hard-core Alan Rickman fan, I bought this movie before seeing it. When I watched it, I fell head-over-heels in love. The premise was simple: On their way for a weekend at their private island, a married couple helps an injured man on the side of the road. Dropping him off in the nearest town, they resolve to think nothing more of him. Thus, when he turns up on their private island, they are somewhat surprised. Polly Walker is the only real dud in the film... I'm sorry to say that she's British, to boot. Alan shines in this as he does in everything, and there's just something so loveable about Norman Reedus.
The ending *WILL* come as a shock. Unless you're incredibly perceptive (which, I consider myself to be, and I was shocked), you will not know what's coming at the end. Yes, the plot moves a bit slow. But the pace is necessary to establish the proper relational distance between Alexis and David Weinberg.
I loved it, I think you will too, so just give it a try!
If the ending hadn't been so fantastically unexpected, I don't think I
could rate this movie so well.
This movie has a lot of uncomfortable, distressing, "marriage falling apart" character interaction. That sort of thing is not my kind of drama, so the pace seemed to drag for me.
In addition, the main characters are difficult to relate to and thus care much about -- the husband (Alan Rickman) is rather bitter and cranky and the wife (Polly Walker) is aloof and a little haughty. The acting was just fine (Norman Reedus was very alluring), but the characters themselves were perhaps a little TOO realistically flawed (for me).
The setting was nice and appropriately isolated and a little spooky. The cinematography had something to it that seemed a little old-fashioned to me somehow.
But the last 5-15 minutes of this movie are so ingenious that every uncomfortable scene, awkward conversation, and inexplicable character behavior absolutely worth it. I guessed every typical plot twist except the one that occurred.
The ending definitely makes this movie worth watching. The intrigue and the drama, not quite as much.
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