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Dark Arc (2004)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  3 March 2005 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 158 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 76 critic

A mysterious comedy about love, lust, art and the power of the "charged image", Dark Arc follows the eccentric love triangle between an artist, a graphic designer and their inspiring muse.

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Dark Arc (2004) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Director: Anne Wheeler
Stars: Wendy Crewson, Karyn Dwyer, Christina Cox
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Juxta / Lamia
Dan Zukovic ...
Viscount Laris
...
Ed Smith
...
Medieval Play Director
...
Faustine
Lisa Stewart ...
New Agey Exhorter
Grace Bauer ...
Scenester Woman
...
Basic Fucker (as P. Adrien Dorval)
...
Smith's Boss
Mitch Mayer ...
First Devil
Jamie Brinnen ...
Lesser Devil
...
Bartender (as John Funk)
Dominic Forcier ...
Dark Kafka
Loukia Eleni ...
Polystrychnine
Patrick Hogue ...
Video Picasso
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Storyline

Director Dan Zukovic weaves together the bizarre story of a love triangle between an artist, a graphic designer, and their inspiring muse. Viscount Laris is an eccentric, modern-day dandy obsessed by the power of art and visual imagery to shape the behavior and destiny of the individual. Juxta, a striking young cosmetician absorbed by masks, makeup, and false identities, soon falls under Viscount's idiosyncratic influence. Together they plot an elaborate game where they seek to influence the behavior of Ed Smith, a harmless and complacent graphic designer, through a meticulously planned series of staged visual events. Smith himself is unaware that these 'visual events' are manufactured and he soon becomes obsessed by Juxta, the mysterious woman he associates with these 'charged images'. As the game progresses, Viscount's experiments grow sinister and cruel. Juxta, having fallen for Smith, decides to turn the tables on Viscount. She enlists Smith's help and together they plot their ... Written by Brendan Keown

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For arrogant bastards only...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

3 March 2005 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 250,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Viscount Laris: Everyday there are a handful of images that stay with us. We see them by accident or design, create them consciously, or unconsciously, some stay with us for a day or two... most are forgot in minutes, seconds.... and of those images, maybe there's one that sticks out beyond all the others... the most powerful image of your life.
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Soundtracks

Create the Gesture
(uncredited)
Written by Dan Zukovic
Performed by Dan Zukovic, Nathan Blakely, Nat Damm
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User Reviews

 
I wish I could give it a zero
13 April 2006 | by (Santa Monica) – See all my reviews

Make no mistake: "Dark Arc" is a strong contender for Worst Movie Ever Made.

Sitting through this tedious, feature-length student film is cruel and unusual punishment indeed, recommended only for masochists or those in need of a nap. The tagline is, "For arrogant bastards only." It should have read, "By an arrogant bastard, with total contempt for his audience, film-making, and the whole of cinema."

The best you can say is that someone got a movie made. Great. But at what cost? No one's ever gonna see it, 'cause it's (hopefully) never gonna get released. So what's the point, Dan? Another ego trip? Final proof that the Tedium is the Message? Is this where you get your literary and intellectual rocks off at the expense of outmoded concepts such as story and characters? Next time, do us all a big favor and keep it to yourself.

Working without a budget, Zukovic -- a B movie actor with a dark, rather intense look -- has produced one of the most ironic films of all time: a picture supposedly about the power of images, but comprised instead of words: hundreds and thousands of them, endlessly recited by somnolent student actors like so much cribbed dialogue from "Altered States," like so many high school English Lit lectures, like so much pseudo-psycho-literary claptrap too pretentious to be included in the current "Plan 9 From Outer Space" heir to the throne, "The Matrix Reloaded." In fact, close your eyes while watching this tour de farce (if you ever do watch it, which I don't advise) and you'll swear you were listening to the hilarious Architect scene from "Matrix Regurgitated" -- possibly the most pretentious scene in the history of film. In fact, it's hard to decide which movie is the more deadly blow to the craft of cinema. But for now, I'm putting my money on "Dark Arc." Sorry, Dan. And you seem like such a nice guy.

Low budget? Has nothing to do with imagination or taste, pal. And speaking of taste, in the first ten minutes we're treated to the lovely sight of a dog taking an enormous crap. Later on we see what look like maggots. Mmmmm.... thanks, Dan. Great work. You took a great, big, steaming dump on all of us, us out here spending two hours of our lives giving you the benefit of a doubt you had a brain in your head or an ounce of talent. I guess the joke's on us. Now pass the vomit bag.

Minimalist acting? Ever since French new-wave and Italian neo-realism, low-key and natural seems to have taken over. Sometimes it works, and -- as proved here -- sometimes not. The robotic line readings on TV shows such as "CSI: Miami" and "Law and Order" are monotonous, to be sure. But those shows also feature something Zukovic forgot all about: a coherent story. (Ed Wood the world's worst director? At least his films never put the audience into a trance.)

From Dustin Hoffman's mono-tonal delivery in "The Graduate" to Ed Norton's hilariously dry performance in "Fight Club," screen acting has obviously changed a lot over the years. Much less seems to be more these days. But while Hoffman and Norton were essentially going for comedy, Zukovic's non- acting is a snooze-inducing endurance test. The director places himself in in nearly every frame, trying desperately for laughs and receiving none, except at his expense. Rapid fire hard-boiled detective patter? Better watch "Maltese Falcon" a few thousand more times, buddy. You just don't seem to be getting it.

This film was advertised as a visual feast. Translation: incoherent story. There may be some point to Zukovic's pink color scheme and erotic imagery, but only the Director knows for sure. Remember, the road to Cinema Hell is paved with people attempting to be deep. Remember "Zardoz"? I rest my case. And at least that had Sean Connery.

Zukovic also pummels us with constant, adolescent sexual imagery, the unicorn apparently his phallus of choice. Leonard Pynth-Garnell, where are you now that we need you?

But whatever its faults -- and there are many -- the most heinous crime is one of storytelling, or lack thereof. Zucovic has zero interest in anything as passé as conflict or drama. No concern for the antiquated notions of a Beginning and End. That Syd Field crap is strictly for squares, right, Dan? And all that formulaic, 3-act garbage Hollywood used to churn out -- you know, predictable trash like "Casablanca" and "Gone With the Wind" and "City Lights" and "It's a Wonderful Life" -- can be thrown right on the top of the Hollywood slag pile, that enormous mound of Cinematic Crap that Oh-So-Profound auteurs like Zukovic would just as soon recycle into guitar pics.

You see, in this 21st Century world of anything-goes experimental Art, we're inventing our own rules, reinventing the cinematic wheel and expounding on heavy subjects such as the Nature of Existence and the Defining Image of Our Lives. Ooohhh, so deep, Dan! Makes me want to go right back to freshman year film classes.

The trouble is, great filmmakers like Godard and Resnais and Antonioni wanted to break the rules, too -- about a half a century ago. So did Eisenstein and Bunuel many years earlier. The difference is, they had talent. And respect for the medium. Breaking the rules isn't the same as ignoring them from the get-go. Picasso painted realistically before going off in experimental directions. Robert Altman shot dozens of traditional TV shows before delving into overlapping dialogue and complex multi-character studies.

"Dark Arc" is being shown at the Egyptian this week as a sidebar screening to its annual Film Noir series. If this movie (or video, since it was projected digitally) is what film noir has somehow come to, God help us all.

And see you in Hell.


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