I entered the theatre with a spring in my steps and a song on my lips, with popcorn on my left hand and a Coke Zero bottle in my right hand. I left with a somewhat confused face.
As a little disclaimer, I’m not a really big fan of Nollywood movies, and I certainly have never before entered a cinema for the sole purpose of seeing a Nigerian flick. But this day I did.
Talking about the movie itself, Dark the story of an estranged woman (Tracy) whose child (Precious) dies in surgery following a careless domestic accident which damaged her head in the hands of a workaholic Doctor, Dr. Delphine. Tracy becomes
batshit crazy obsessed and went, well, Dark.
The movie stars Monalisa Chinda as the Doctor who could really do with an assistant; Rukky Sanda as the grieving mum, and Van Vicker as the husband who has had it up to here with his wife.
One could say Dark examined the concept of grief in losing a child. Or that it discusses the challenges of a woman traversing the balance between family life and career, or about the extent to which we’ll blind ourselves while satisfying guilty conscience. One could say it touches on the power of the allure of a sophisticated vagina and feminine wiles to a hot blooded heterosexual male.
But saying all that is just sugar-coating it and trying to be nice. It’s as much as trying to say a pornography movie makes a hint at human sexuality, or that a horror movie explores human reaction to danger. It doesn’t hint at it so much as to throw it at you, slap it on your face and say yeah, there, box ticked, on to the next thing. The story didn’t nicely weave with each scene leading to the next smoothly. Like racing Formula One on a straight road and a level surface, the makers could not have made their point any more obvious. I like subtlety, it didn’t give me subtlety.
This brings to mind some outrageous plot holes I simply could not fathom its existence in the movie. Normally, where questions arise in any movie I watch, I tend to make excuses answering for it by deducing some inference from the plot so that I can move on and enjoy the story. But at these ones I encountered, I came up short. The gaps in plot development and progression were just so egregious I could not help but feel a sense of disconnect with the story till the end. We became parallel lines, never to cross paths.
Well, asides the gripes above, the lack of humour (maybe the title text should have been enough to give warning. Still, I like movies having a few laughing moments, comic relief so to say. In this movie I had a genuine chuckle only once), and the somewhat awful acting by Rukky Sanda herself; the movie was not so bad. It has some redeeming qualities such as the nice visuals, unobtrusive musicals and soundtracks, no unnecessary allusion towards a sequel, a convincing appeal to one’s sense of human compassion, and genuine lovemaking scenes (I dig when two lovers do it like they mean business without being too raw and brazen about it). It had a solid, understandable beginning and it reached a logical end.
Is it worth the ticket money? Yes, just don’t go in there with a Coke Zero. That drink is terrible, an abomination that should be wiped out of Coca Cola’s product catalogue, and all of human existence. But this write up is not about the drink, that is a rant for another day.
Maybe it is, maybe I’m transferring some coke-movie aggression. Maybe it really is a great movie. Still, I don’t see many awards in its future.
I hope I turn out to be wrong.