The poster advertising the film mentioned the trailers of Ice Age 4 and Titanic in 3D. That did not seem to bode well. Considering the film is produced by Timur Bekmambetov who made the super stylish Wanted and directed by Chris Gorak who was art director for any number of hectic films including Fear and Loathing in Vegas and Fight Club, I was sure the movie would at least be good looking.
And it did not disappoint — the visuals are way cool. Considering the short running time (89 minutes), The Darkest Hour, in spite of a non-existent story and characters that are flatter than Hrithik Roshan's abs, offers a guilty pleasure. There are extraordinary cheesy lines such as “Last day of extermination, first day of war,” and even better, “What is the dress code for the end of the world, jacket and no tie?”
The movie is set in Moscow and it is nice to see aliens giving America and the Empire State Building a break and laying waste another city. Coming to the movie after Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which is set at the height of the Cold War, it is quite a culture shock to see McDonalds and other temples of conspicuous consumption in Moscow.
The music is necessarily groovy and the club while not as cool as Anarchy 99 in XXX is passably hip. Sean and Ben are two American geeks who come to Moscow to sell some cutting edge software. However, evil Swede, Skyler, has stolen their idea. Sean, Ben, Skyler and two American girls, Natalie and Anne (they don't even have second names, forget back stories!) end up at this club when the aliens strike and destroy the city and the world.
The aliens are not much fun as they do not slice and dice people, they microwave them. And the President of the United States does not make his usual fancy speech. Max Minghella who we last saw as Divya Narendra in The Social Network plays Ben, while Emile Hirsch plays Sean, Olivia Thirlby is Natalie, Rachael Taylor is Anne and Joel Kinnaman, Skyler. The movie is not great, not even good, but it is not as bad as it is made out to be. The Darkest Hour is fun for the Moscow city visuals — it is nice that Madam Liberty was not besieged again. And the trailers looked super — imagine Jack and Rose and the Titanic breaking in half in 3D! Precisely.
The Darkest Hour
Director: Chris Gorak
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor
Storyline: Four American youngsters are stranded in Moscow as aliens attack
Bottomline: Same old, same old, but fun nevertheless