The science fiction genre is almost an endangered species in film making. There are so few science fiction films that debut in modern film making and even fewer of them can be considered a great one. In the modern era of film making, there are so many lackluster films that sci-fi lovers can allow their inner geek to be revealed and fall in love. One of the more recent attempts to revive the genre recently debuted on video. The Darkest Hour (2011) is an insanely mundane intersection of action and sci-fi that makes a painstakingly modest attempt to give a modern perspective on the often told, end of the world sci-fi narrative. This mismanaged thriller revolves around the events that bind a mismatched band of travelers who are thrown together by the dire circumstances of the horrific occurrence. The movie stars Emile Hursch (Milk), Olivia Thirlby (Being Flynn), Max Minghellay (The Ides of March), and Rachel Taylor (Transformers).
The Darkest Hour is an exhausting misuse of a good premise. It is highlighted by some exceptional cinematography and the implementation of first rate special effects. This is a moderately entertaining sci-fi themed testament of fortitude and human resolve. It bolsters an intriguing concept and good usage of the often told story of alien invasion. This is a very unique perspectives on the last stand of mankind against an alien incursion.
The film becomes just an average thriller that induces a good level of suspense when it begins. However, the promise of an interesting premise is quickly squandered when as it rapidly loses entertainment value as the film lumbers on then falters. The first 30 minutes or so builds a good level of tension but it never truly uses it. The Darkest Hour does a great job at establishing the antithesis of the film and engrossing the audience. It raises the anticipation of the next encounter but it never effectively uses the tension that it builds or gives the audience any true satisfaction. But after about 35 min, the film becomes just another sci-fi movie of the week feature. Despite the phenomenal special effects, the story does not equate to them. The lackluster story just does not support the film.
The best aspect of this disappointing calamity is that it is filled with some good cinematography. In addition to the great special effects, this film is an eye-opening glimpse into the country of Russia. It gives most Americans a glimpse into the lesser known landscape of Moscow. While most picture Russia as a less than modern part of the world. The Darkest Hour allows its audience to see how modern and how far the Russian capital has come. The special effects that are used to show the invisible invaders are the true gem of this movie. This film’s use of light and effects to bring the imperceptible invaders to life is truly magnificent.
The Darkest Hour has some much promise that it completely wastes. The film leaves too many holes in the plot. The film never truly explains much. It gives a sketchy explanation for the invasion. What it does do is become a set up for at least one direct to video feature that will turn out to be even worse than this one. A less than average feature that does not warrant purchasing. My advice is that if you truly want to endure this debacle then visit the redbox or wait for it to come on cable.