Dark Days

"Very Good"

Dark Days Review


Apparently, there are otherwise homeless people who live in the subway tunnels underneath New York City! Er, does this come as a shock to anyone?

The tales of the so-called mole people are legendary, but they aren't particularly striking in these days of JonBenet Ramsey and mac & cheese on a stick. Nevertheless, Dark Days makes for a strong documentary about the subterranean subculture, the end result of an arduous, two-year production in which filmmaker Marc Singer lived among the moles in the tunnels.

Easily the most intriguing aspect of the 84-minute documentary is the community that has sprung up in the underground. Thanks to movies like Extreme Measures, one thinks of the moles as precisely that -- people that live like rats, subsisting on one another in a man-eat-man underworld. To see a "house" with walls, doors, furniture, a kitchen, TV, stolen electricity -- just about everything except running water -- is quite astonishing and unexpected. Singer's documentation of the day-to-day lives of the underground is remarkable and surprisingly familiar. Spaghetti and meatballs are prepared for dinner. Cornbread is baked. The driveway is swept. Roommates squabble about the mess. Oh, and they set up traps and train dogs to scare off the crackheads who lurk nearby. It just might be America's most dysfunctional neighborhood.

Singer also covers the de rigueur ground of how-they-came-to-live-here just as he documents the ultimate eviction of the mole people by the NYPD and Amtrak. This is less interesting than the slice-of-life aspect of Dark Days, if only because it seems like old ground, as callous as that sounds. Also, while the film is visually astounding considering how it was made, the sound production of the film is extremely uneven, as much of the dialogue is incomprehensible due to low volume combined with thick, slurred accents.

There's a tendency for people to judge movies like Dark Days based on how they were made rather than what's inside them. Singer's tales of living among the moles for two years, dumpster diving for food, enlisting his subjects to help out as crew, and building equipment as he needed it are all fascinating and impressive stories, but ultimately that kind of information needs to stand aside in order to look at the film for what it is. While Dark Days is certainly an interesting slice of life that's rarely been seen, it unfortunately never really gets to the meat of its subject matter, a la Crumb or Hoop Dreams. Still, it's a noble film worthy of attention.

Home sweet home.



Dark Days

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th March 2001

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: André Byman as Man

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Review

This much more light-hearted sequel reinvigorates the franchise after Disney's quirky but murky 2010 reboot...

Love & Friendship Movie Review

Love & Friendship Movie Review

Acclaimed filmmaker Whit Stillman reunites the stars of his 1998 drama The Last Days of...

Money Monster Movie Review

Money Monster Movie Review

A sleekly made thriller with a sparky sense of humour, this is also a rare...

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Advertisement
Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.