The 2012 Shooting in Aurora, Colorado - at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" - was a tragedy that will likely not be forgotten anytime soon. The gunman ended up killing 12 people and injuring 70. The remnants of that horrible act are still being felt to this day, but, just like most of the mass shootings we have witnessed this past decade, filmmakers have refused to tackle the topic. Are we ready to deal with this through art? I can't really tell you, but Paul Greengrass' "United 93" is proof that, when done right, art can truly transcend tragedy and put things into perspective. The best example being Gus Van Sant's prophetic "Elephant" which was released only a few years after its targedy, Columbine, occurred.
I saw Tim Sutton's "Dark Night" at Sundance this past January. The room was practically empty and that is a good way to explain the way the film was met over there: with calm, polite appreciation, but, truth be told, I know a lot of critics that skipped their screening of the film. I Wasn't one of them. The movie seemed fascinating from the outset. It all takes place in the span of a day and follows the lives of six strangers that will end up at that screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."
Sutton refuses to show the actual act, but instead focuses his lens on the people. Not a bad idea, if Van Sant made us witness the horrid crime that was happening, Sutton cuts that part out. Nevertheless "Elephant's" influence throughout the film is felt. That is the actual only flaw of the film, it really does try too hard to be like "Elephant." Its meditatively simple approach is quite clearly something that has been ripped off from Van Sant's style, but you can also see this stylistic decision as a kind of nod/tribute to Van Sant as well. Whatever the case, "Elephant" and "Dark Night" would make a nightmarish double header [B+]
Courtesy of IndieWire: