Director: Tim Sutton
Starring: Robet Jumper, Anna Rose Hopkins, Rosie Rodriguez, Karina Macias .USA. 1h 25m
Dark Night is an incredibly slow movie. Not necessarily a film in slow motion or involving lengthy still shots, but one which whimsically dances around the mundane sequences in the lives of it’s subjects instead of explaining exactly why they are important. The (unwanted) insight into the lives of a group of people who are all present on the night of a screening of an infamous Batman film that would go so terribly wrong when a deranged individual opened fire with bullets and tear gas. Many people will be more than aware of the case, one of the biggest one man shooting events in living memory. Tim Sutton has managed to bypass the hype and politics by somehow going back in time outlining the normaily before the shooting, trying to pay homage to the victims and show how fragile life is in a moody thought provoking arty drama, frequently highlighted with Robert Jumpers haunting stare.
Is it art or cinema? Tim Sutton likes to stick to his signature aesthetic but his approach is somewhat different with each movie. People are seen to flow like poetry as the go about their daily lives, skateboarding through a park or even just instagramming a few selfies. The vapor styled cinematography by Hélène Louvart, while beautiful isn’t always on par with the narrative. Hélène has a great knowledge of what light can do to a face and how to cast textures within a scene. Along with her touch there are stages which fade into silence and others totally out of sync with their sound in this quasi experimental drama. The most poignant is when a young man walks into the path of paparazzi, camera and shouting grow louder then sharply stop the silence s deafening. A portent of life of a survivor, what happens when the news has moved on and you’re left picking up the pieces?
Based loosely on the shooting in Aurora Colorado, when a flame headed shooter opened fire on a midnight screening of Dark Knight Rises (2012), 12 people were killed and 70 injured. Suttons’ approach to the subject, almost like a fly on the wall documentary of the people involved, spins around in the lead up to the event, rather than aftermath, is very brave. Does it achieve a stronger message for anti gun laws? Does it help us look out for warning signs that our loved ones are about to tear gas a theatre?
Do you still draw? Can I see your sketches?-interviewer
With the absence of psychology and direct links with real events it’s often easy to overlook the tragedy, some may have missed the entire event completely. there are a few people wearing Batman masks and some footage on the TV but you really have to be watching like a hawk to really pick up on the message and this is hard to do as generally the footage is so spellbinding and yet for others so mind mindnumbly slow I can see a large percent of Dark Night’s audience asking for their life back, but for those who appreciate it’s tactile approach, there’s a certain poetry in motion that’s hard to let go of.
Related: Gummo (1997),