|Index||4 reviews in total|
I had the misfortune to rent Night Is Day via Distrify online. Despite
the low rental charge of £1.99 I still came away feeling robbed.
Starting out - this is about a loner(Chris Somerville) in Glasgow blessed with powers that enable him to shoot electricity from his fists. On rescuing our cut-out-damsel-in-distress (Kirsty Anderson) from red faced demon hoodies he uncovers a plot that may or may not result in the end of our world. There's also a trio of tired police officers discovering plot devices an hour after everyone else.
With a minimal 'Power Rangers' approach to story, the plot feels thinly stretched over a 2 hour running time. Multi-tasking writer/director/editor Fraser Coull throws an avalanche of clichés at the audience (older mentor teaches defeated hero to 'focus' his anger before returning to take on the villain. familiar?) and subsequently fails to gather any momentum. A bizarre and infuriating 'development' in the final reel leaves the picture riddled with plot holes.
The actors in Night Is Day are particularly poorly served. For the majority of the duration the cast's amateur abilities are obvious but even decent performances are botched entirely by Coull's inept edits and framing. As Jason Mackenzie, Somerville is handed some truly cringe-worthy lines to deliver ("Life!...Living!") but handles the quiet moments well. Tam Toye's performance as the ominous Mr Philips is pure pantomime but strangely magnetic. Disappointingly the much trumpeted appearances from 'bigger' names in the cast are reduced to redundant cameos. Elaine C. Smith briefly appears as a concerned mother in an unresolved plot thread and Colin McCredie is nearly inaudible in a single scene plagued by sound issues. 'Football Factory' star Simon Wier emerges with his dignity somewhat intact with a stand out performance as a ruthless police boss.
At moments composer Philip Martin valiantly attempts to elevate the film from it's terminal state with a catchy theme tune but the rest of the score fails to register above the dismal sound design.
The film lurches painfully between endless, talky exposition scenes with a script that can't have been revised past a first draft. The meaning of the film's title never becomes apparent (unless it's a reference to the night scenes that have clearly been shot during the day). Whilst pivotal fights unfold, central characters just stand and watch their comrades get pummelled. It's difficult not to marvel at the complete disregard for logic. Coull doesn't appear to understand the basic mechanisms behind budget film making. In a shoot where the cast and crew are probably working for free (or very little) on an extremely limited budget, why waste people's weekends shooting scenes(the previously mentioned Elaine C. Smith sequence, for example) that do not contribute to the story?
Night Is Day, crucially is a film with nothing to say. The laborious, tired pace and stale characterisation will bore anyone looking for an edgy alternative to the formulaic Hollywood offerings whilst the agonisingly shoddy production values and limp confrontations won't satisfy the average superhero junkie. The production itself is a colossal waste of time for everyone involved.
Whatever you make of Hollywood superhero flicks, their bombastic action sequences and archetypal characters make for exciting, if not essential viewing. By contrast Night Is Day plays like a plodding office training video. From the sub-par Spider-Man credit sequence rips to the sluggish, boring fight sequences, the lack of imagination on display is remarkable. A pointless vanity exercise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Night Is Day' is set in modern Glasgow - a place of car parks,
alleyways and more car parks if the film is to be taken at face value.
Jason Mckenzie is a superhuman with an extraordinary power one
attribute of which is that he can cast force-like lightning from his
hands to combat eveil from street muggers to supernatural adversaries.
Glasgow's corporate sector,police and political infrastructure make up
the members of the underworld Jason has to combat until more demonic
entities make their presence felt.
I was aware of 'Night Is Day' during its preproduction phase and as someone on the lower rungs of the arts and media in Scotland, I was aware that all was not entire buoyant. Helmed by Filmmakers who conducted themselves as if they already had top jobs in Hollywood, there was a jettisoning of many people who had helped create 'Night Is Day's webcast forebear - 'Night Is Day: The Series' - and many arts and crafts people who offered their services for minimum cost or even freely were dismissed as not being required.
Having seen the "film", they had a narrow escape. 'Night Is Day' pours glosses of a host of influences into its story. 'Highlander', 'Star Wars', 'Hellboy', 'Spider-Man' and 'Doctor Who' are all in evidence plotwise, but the camera-work, acting and plot fail to live up even to a 'Doctor Who' episode on an off-day.
Coull needs his audience to know the shorthand rules of his scifi-fantasy/comic book influences to even begin to find his ideas plausible or cogent. There is little sense of threat from the villains who serve as vessels of acres of scripted exposition. The special effects are just about special for a production of this budget but creature make-up and in-camera effects don't cut the mustard here.
The hero and heroine, Jason and a damsel in distress rescued early on by Jason, are actually quite likable and natural - so it is a pity that the villains and the actors playing them, to mediocre pantomimic effect, occupy far more screen time. Scottish soap opera 'River City' is more edgy.
Coull is far more preoccupied with his idea of what his film would be and planting a flag in the ground as the first media person to have recognised the potential of Glasgow as a sci-fi-fantasy location. This would be fine, but bigger budget films 'Unleashed' and 'The Jacket', not to mention Robbie Coltrane's 1992 misfire 'The Bogey Man', Grant Morrison's Glasgow superhero 'Captain Clyde' and Gavin Cunningham's fantasy novel 'Glescu'
have tread that ground before. Glasgow is a place of some breathtakingly impressive architecture and archetypical people and not much use of either was made.
Coull must be praised for his ambition, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired, particularly when it is rumoured that he deflected a lot of help from film artisans that would have helped him. It was his sandpit, his rules, no-one else was playing in it. The script is built around set-pieces rather than a story that took nto consideration budget and limitations enforced by budget. Basing scriptwriting technique on modern special effects blockbusters is fine - but they have the money to deflect attention away from the shortcomings in plot.
This is a greatly missed opportunity, particularly in an epoch that sees Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and Scarlett Johanssen bring movies to Glasgow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Night Is Day' is a film with grand plans and ambition to match. With
the budget available, much has been made of it and the energy and
pacing are excellent.
Jason Mckenzie and his powers represent an original take on the urban superhero and it is quite clear that the filmmakers are fully in tune with the current zeitgeist in comic book lore. Tapping mythology and sci-fi and combining this with a story based in Glasgow is ingenious and Scotland, with its rich history of horror and fantasy - writers from Bram Stoker and Robert Louis Stevenson to modern pop culture stalwarts Mark Millar and Ridley Scott have been inspired by Scottish lore.
An enjoyable romp, well worth watching!
I've seen several trailers of this film and they all good very exciting, with its fair share of suspense, mystery and a hint of humour. I like the idea of having some rotten villains and at least one superhero on our shores, as they all seem to come from the other side of the pond these days. It's quite encouraging to have new talent coming through, both in the acting and the directing department, as well as make-up artists, sound engineers, etc. It will also be cool to be able to relate to some Scottish landmarks for a change. I am really looking forward to watching the whole movie soon. I hope it does well nationally and internationally. I believe that British filmmakers need more moral and financial support from the Arts Council and from the British public in general.
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