A newly married couple hits the road and drives through the desert from Las Vegas when they encounter a person who was just in an accident. They take him and try to find some help, but they get more than they bargained for and all hell breaks loose.
I was intrigued by this film from the trailer, not because of the story or the actors, but it was the visual flare that grabbed me. It was a film noir with a twilight zone twist and that was exactly what the film gives you. Dark Country is the directorial debut of Thomas Jane and with Dark Country he shows that he has some interesting concepts and talent to back it up, yet still needs time to hone those skills. Dark Country, while showcasing some impressive scenes, comes off as slightly amateurish at times.
The most evident is the green screen. Now, Jane has obviously chosen to make it noticeable that when they are in the car, that the scenery in the background was stylized to make it feel like a comic book. It works, but the problem lies in the production values that are evident in the cracks. Bits of the green screen are visible through our lead female characters hair and around their faces. This takes you out of the film and you realize that you're watching a film.
The second would be the audio. While Jane pays a lot of attention to the detail of the visuals, he seems to have let the audio slide a little bit. If a film has bad visuals, the audience can forgive you as long as the sound is good. If a film has bad audio, you are screwed. While the film doesn't have horrible audio, there are times that it feels like it was put together in a day. ADR is very evident and jolting.
I give the film some credit for the intrigue. I immediately wanted to listen to the audio commentary from Jane to see what his agenda was. I got some of the film, while other parts of it were lost on me. The film is without a doubt a Twilight Zone entry aided by the film noir and graphic novel aspects that Jane added. It's a genre piece that has a specific market. Jane knows what he is doing and comes off extremely prepared and knowledgeable. I just wish he would have taken a bit more time with this one and improved those little imperfections.
It's funny, during the film there were parts where I asked myself if Jane was trying to make a 3D film. Reading up on the film, much to my surprise it apparently was suppose to be a 3D film. Not only that, but Jane is apparently not happy with the final product. I can see his frustration because there is a lot here that could be good. Instead it feels as if it's an exercise. A project to see if Jane could actually direct.
Dark Country is a beautiful looking film that has a few problems, yet those few problems are jarring enough to make you upset with the final product.
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