In Darkness review: A stylized, engaging thriller

In Darkness makes good use of ambient sound and aggressive camera angles to draw us into its twisting story.

In Darkness is a highly stylized thriller starring Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) as a blind pianist, Sofia.  The film is set in London and draws heavily on the use of ambient sound.  In Darkness plays on the dichotomy between Sofia’s blindness and affecting camera angles.  The result is a captivating thriller that struggles to hold it’s edge through the final act.

Sofia lives downstairs from the enigmatic Veronique, played by Emily Ratajkowski.  Veronique is the daughter of Zoran Radic, an accused Bosnian War criminal turned businessman.

Sofia witnesses the apparent suicide of Veronique through her heightened sense of hearing.  After Veronique’s death, Sofia is drawn into a world of corruption, betrayal, and murder.  She must find a way to survive, but she may not be as defenseless as she seems.

Dormer, who also co-wrote the film, does a great job playing the lead character.  Sofia is haunted by childhood nightmares of the killing of her family. Dormer stays easily in step as we see her character develop from a struggling blind woman into an eager would-be assassin.

The ensemble cast seemed up to the task as well, with Ed Skrein (Deadpool, The Transporter Refueled) and Joely Richardson (Red Sparrow, Snowden) turning in solid performances.

In Darkness quickly unfolds as a solid thriller.  There are a few plot twists along the way, but they can seem contrived.  Director Anthony Byrne, who also co-wrote the film, effectively turns a relatively basic story into one that is fairly engaging.

As thrillers go, In Darkness may not offer anything new or exciting.  The movie held my interest very well but fell somewhat flat with a few late reveals.

Ultimately, a well-acted, well-paced story saves the latter shortcomings of an otherwise good film. The stylized camera work and excellent sound make In Darkness a thriller worth watching.

In Darkness is in theaters now.

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