Stuck in the dark

Ugh… so as much as it kills me to admit it, Vulture was pretty spot on with their review for Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places.

After just about dying of anticipation, then realizing that I could have watched the movie all along on iTunes… I was already feeling a bit iffy about the quality. (Why did it go right to VOD? Why, when it said it had a release date of August 7, were only two theaters “near” me showing it… and why were they over two hours away?!)

So this past weekend I finally checked it out. And first of all, as expected, Charlize Theron is a badass Libby Day. She’s gritty, fearsome, and does a great job of portraying the darkness simmering below the surface for the character.

It’s honestly a dream cast. Nicholas Hoult plays Lyle, the leader of the “Kill Club,” which seeks Libby out, as they strive to prove Ben – Libby’s older brother – innocent, before his old court files are destroyed and he’s stuck in prison for the rest of his life.

Speaking of Ben, he is played by House of Cards’ Corey Stoll, who I may or may not be in love with right now. Regardless, he’s great. But I’m not even done yet. Young Ben’s girlfriend Diondra is played by freaking Chloe Grace Moretz, one of the most badass young actors in the game.

To top it all off, Patty Day – Ben and Libby’s mother – is played by the human goddess that is Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. And she is truly a gift as a struggling single mother, desperately trying to balance the books and take care of her failing farm in addition to her troublesome four kids.

So… how can the actors be amazing, and the performances stunning, but the movie still ends up a disappointment? Well, that’s a good question. I don’t really know. I think maybe the plot was a little too convoluted to play out well onscreen?

Don’t get me wrong. I loved this book. I am such a huge fan of Gillian Flynn. I absolutely adore the way she writes, and I think Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl are all works of art. But there a lot of flashbacks in the book, and the story is disjointed, and told in pieces.

While that storytelling method was exciting and suspenseful in the book, it came across as more confusing onscreen. It was kind of like when I saw the fifth Harry Potter movie right after re-reading the book and noticed all of the scenes they had cut out – and it made me wonder: How are people who didn’t read these books not confused right now? I mean, I know I can fill in the gaps and missing pieces, but what about someone who didn’t read the books?

It was kind of like that, which… was a bit of a bummer. But, I guess they can’t all be winners. And I’ll always have the book. For now I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that upcoming Sharp Objects series. Blumhouse Productions is attached, so I find that reassuring.

Until next time,

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