REASON: Diana, a young woman who lost her sight, finds a guide in a Chinese boy named Chin. Together they will track a dangerous killer through the darkness of Italy.
REVIEW: Like a big one Deep red fan, it’s hard not to be extremely excited about Dario Argento’s first film in nearly a decade. Add to that the fact that he’s finally returning to the genre he helped shape, and the excitement just can’t be contained. Because Dark glasses isn’t just any movie, it’s a Dario Argento Giallo! But what that entails may vary depending on the viewer.
Dark glasses is beautifully shot, but from a story perspective it’s pretty nonsensical. We follow Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli), an expensive call girl in Italy who is not afraid to stand up for herself. When she’s blinded in an attack, there’s definitely more for her to do, but I’m not sure it results in anything good. I’m sure it’s very difficult to play blind, but here it comes off very staged and unnatural. If anything, I really appreciate Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdoch even more now. Despite her rather complicated personal life, it was still really nice to see Asia Argento pop up in a small supporting role. She helps Diana learn to use her lack of sight to her advantage. She is one of the best actors in the film, and really brings life to scenes that would otherwise have been boring.
One aspect I always really enjoy about any Argento Giallo is the sheer unrepentant nature of the killer. Their whole purpose in life seems to be to attack and kill, and here is no different. Once someone is in this killer, he does what he can to complete the job. But it also means that all logic goes out the window. In this world, every killing is in this strange vacuum where the killer has a supernatural understanding of his surroundings. Plus, when their motivations are finally revealed, it was hard not to have my eyes roll all the way to the back of my head.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the performances here are pretty stiff. The actors seem to put a lot of thought into their lines and let it be known every time they need to hit their mark. There is one scene in particular with two detectives being attacked that is so slow and boring that you just have to question the characters’ absurdly stupid decision making. Better blocking would have gone a long way.
There is a scene with snakes attacking Diana that feels so out of place in the grand scheme of the film. Nor is it referred to at any time after it has taken place. Add to that the fact that the snakes are almost sentient and it makes their inclusion even more confusing. Like the guide dog who doesn’t seem to understand his job is to lead. Then there is the entire third act, which is so underlit that it is difficult to see what is happening at all. These are mistakes I would expect from a first-time filmmaker, but not someone who is considered an all-around great.
The synthesized score is where the film really shines. There were many times when I felt like I was watching one of Argento’s older classics Deep red or Suspiria. While I would definitely have been interested to hear what the originally attached Daft Punk would have done, I am very impressed with Arnaud Rebotini. His score is definitely the highlight of the film and something I found myself wanting more and more of as it went on. It felt like classic Goblin era Argento. Unfortunately, these moments are very few and far between.
I’m sure there are some Argento diehards out there who will absolutely love this. When the film gets really slashy, that’s when it’s at its absolute best. It was one of the few times I felt like I was watching a master at work. But the rest of the time was pure disappointment.
Dark glasses releases to SHAKE UP THIS FALL.