A rough rule of thumb: when attempting to reconstruct a real-life tragedy, a light touch is alway preferable. To sentimentalize such events always, always strikes me as deeply distasteful, as do any attempts to depict the perpetrators of such acts as plainly evil, cruel, and unfeeling, which they clearly are not. It’s why Elephant remains such a striking experience and World Trade Center has been swept away by time.
Thankfully, Tim Sutton‘s upcoming Dark Night, which is loosely based around the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, takes the more reserved approach, but that doesn’t mean it’s not moving. Instead of needlessly reiterate how tragic and awful the event was, Sutton underlines the menacing undercurrents that come with alienation while also giving a varied, intimate portrait of the community of Aurora. He uses a lot of first-time performers and non-actors for his feature, which you can check out the first trailer, poster, and synopsis for right below, which is largely keeping with his cinematic credo in Memphis, his superb last feature. Here, he takes imposing subject matter and creates a lyrical eulogy for the victims, the survivors, and, yes, the perpetrator. The movie hits theaters on February 3rd, quickly dismantling the idea that no great movies come out in the first quarter.
Here’s the trailer for Dark Night:
Here’s the poster for Dark Night:
Here’s the synopsis for Dark Night:
A haunting, artfully understated critique of American gun culture, Tim Sutton’s third feature is loosely based around the 2012 massacre in Aurora, Colorado that took place during a multiplex screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Employing a mesmerizing documentary-style technique and a cast of non-professional actors, DARK NIGHT follows the activities of six strangers over the course of one day, from sunrise to midnight, the shooter among them. Shot in Sarasota, Florida and lensed by veteran French DP Hélène Louvart (PINA, THE BEACHES OF AGNES), the dream-like visuals articulate both Sutton’s carefully crafted landscapes and the characters’ sense of alienation and suburban malaise. Winner of the Lanterna Magica Award at the Venice Film Festival following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, DARK NIGHT is essential viewing, not only for art-house filmgoers, but for anyone invested in the debate over gun violence in America as well.