Vengeance is Blind (Film Review: “In Darkness”)

indarknessPOSTER

A blind pianist living alone in London is swept up in an international murder plot when she becomes the sole witness to her neighbor’s mysterious death. Was it suicide or was she pushed off her balcony? And how does the pianist’s own mysterious past relate to the confounding circumstances surrounding the tragedy?

SnapShot Plot

In Darkness may have its flaws but however muddled it occasionally is, the film is saved by a slick production value, impressive cinematography, a haunting score (by Niall Byrne), plenty of suspenseful tension, and a strong central performance by British actor Natalie Dormer (The Hunger Games; Game of Thrones; The Tudors). Dormer is quite convincing as Sofia, a young woman who has been blind since the age of five, living alone in London and supporting herself by playing the piano in an orchestra that records film scores. Her exotic upstairs neighbor is the beautiful Veronique, a troubled young woman with a volatile private life and an infamous father, a Serbian businessman names Milos Radic who is suspected of atrocious war crimes in Bosnia. At the time of Veronique’s death, news of her father’s imminent arrival in London – he is now purportedly a successful philanthropist –  is splashed across headlines. With his alleged ties to the Russian Mob and his own notoriety eclipsing any good will his charitable activities might generate, Radic is a polarizing figure to many, making the investigation into his daughter’s death that much more heated. And there are elements to not only that story but Sofia’s own deepening connection to the mystery that just aren’t adding up. Somebody’s covering up something that’s been festering a very long time. And Sofia seems to be emerging as a key player in the game.

 

 

Parting Shot

Directed by Anthony Byrne (Peaky Blinders; Ripper Street), this film was a passion project in collaboration with Dormer, with whom he co-wrote the tersely crafted script. The opening is a clever sequence that immediately draws you in to Sofia’s world, where she remains a mystery until the end, despite how intimately voyeuristic is the camera’s attention on her. The movie’s visuals are especially striking, particularly those surrounding Sofia’s tortured flashbacks to the terrifying event that still haunts her from her childhood. Equally impressive are the smaller moments illustrating Sofia’s mundane, day-to-day activities and the things sighted people take for granted but for a blind person requires the utmost planning and attention. The scenes of Sofia navigating the London Tube and the downtown streets, mixed with her hermetic existence alone in the apartment with only a piano and an ever present metronome counting out her life in measured beats . . . it all makes for a quiet suspense that, when shattered by the forces outside her private world, feels more explosive and sets the scene for a riveting twist at the end that even a sighted viewer won’t have seen coming.

In Darkness is presently streaming on Netflix.

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YouTube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAvHoeClyc4

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