A thin sheen of technical proficiency isn’t enough to boost the emotional connectivity or entertainment value of the exceedingly programmatic genre offering The Darkest Hour, an alien invasion tale with a flat, humdrum script. Derivative and relatively unconcerned with that fact, the film doesn’t take advantage enough of its Moscow locale to truly qualify as an exotic sci-fi curio.
Former art director Chris Gorak made his directorial debut in 2007 with Right at Your Door, but his follow-up, while bigger in scope, trades away its chance at cultural authenticity by having native characters speak mostly in accented English, and also understand various American idioms. Whereas the cultural chasm between the four main characters, none of whom speak Russian, and everyone they come across could have been mined for much tension and drama, The Darkest Hour is instead content to use them as bit player enablers in its gung-ho story of fighting back and survival, which makes the movie seem small, not particularly thoughtful and entirely inconsequential. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (Summit, PG-13, 89 minutes)