This one's worth checking out.

From left to right: Skyler, Anne, Sean, Ben and Natalie.

Fun; surprising in its goodness

From The Darkest Hour, I expected a film of the rare kind where the 3D has a purpose and improves the film’s visuals. I didn’t quite get that. However, I also expected the film to be horrible and I didn’t get that either.

Directed by one Chris Gorak and produced by none other than Timur Bekmambetov, The Darkest Hour is a suprisingly gripping, interesting and actually not too predicable science fiction picture that isn’t entirely free from flaws, but is nevertheless a better film than expected by this critic.

We join two young men who have just developed a new social network and wish to sell their idea to a Russian company. Ben (Max Minghella) is the competent one wh keeps thing in order, whilst Sean (Emile Hirsch) is the snarky and annoying one who thinks with his genitals. After being screwed over by a Swedish businessman named Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) they meet two young ladies, Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and her friend Anne (Rachel Taylor), who have been following their blog. They drink and have fun until something weird happens.

Something that looks like aurora borealis moves over the sky and glowing clouds fall to the city of Moscow. This turns out to be the arrival of an alien race who desire all the Earth’s electricity and any human who gets in their way is turned to dust. These aliens are invisible, except when they sometimes become clouds of energy, meaning they are almost impossible to find and kill. The four young people survive their first attack and travel cautiously through Moscow to make it home.

Vika, played by the beautiful Veronika Ozerova, is hiding from one of the aliens.

On their adventure they run into Skyler again, a cute Russian chick named Vika (Veronika Ozerova), Vika’s intelligent guardian Sergei (Dato Bakhtadze) and a gang of Russian street warriors who have somehow figured out how to fight the aliens. Segrei has also figured out some of the aliens’ weaknesses and constructed weapons to fight them off, all within the span of a few days. Hard to buy.

I do think the idea that characters, who seem like mere ordinary Russian people, could figure out this much about the invaders is a bit unbelievable, especially since they seeminglly figured it out in a short while. Neverteless, the rest of the film is actually entertaining, which, again, came as a pleasant surprise.

I liked how it was established early on that in this movie, unlike other similar survival stories, you can not be sure who is going to bite the dust by being turned into dust. There is a scene where one character is being dragged to their doom by one of the aliens. I rolled by eyes, knowing they would obviously escape to safety somehow. My jaw dropped with surprise when said character let out a scream of terror as they got disintegrated. Something else I enjoyed was not the 3D in general, but the 3D during the bits seen from the POV of the aliens. Those visuals had depth and looked cool.

Still, The Darkes Hour, while good, isn’t flawless. I really don’t get the point of showing what the aliens look like when not invisible. Why just not let them be whispy clouds of energy with little to no physical presence? That would have been much better. I’m also interested in getting to know the aliens a little better, which might happen in the inevitable sequel. When The Darkes Hour 2 comes out, I also want more focus on Vika.

Indeed, Ozerova is the best actor in the movie, and not looking like another Hollywood Barbie like the two female leads, also makes her the most beautiful.

3.5/5 whatever