DVD Review: The Darkest Hour

Review by Toby Lattimore

The Darkest Hour (12A)

Chris Gorak, who is better known for his Art Direction in the late nineties, directs this science-fiction invasion tale of survival and from the start you can see he struggles with character development and plot.

The actors come across poorly in a scatterball script which takes two potential entrepreneurs Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella who hitch up with two tourists Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor on a desperate trek across Moscow. This seems a randomly bizarre setting but yet visually is striking and this is where the film demonstrates some strength. The thirty million pound budget was obviously spent on some impressive CGI which at times is visually effective and then disappointingly blocky and unimaginative.

Particularly impressive are the huge mining columns that the aliens plunge into the cityscape and the way the human prey are vaporised, but diversely the aliens themselves are too simplistic when we catch a glimpse of them through their rotating shields.

Olivia Thirlby (No Strings Attached) is the only actor who comes out of the misdirection with any credibility and the short appearance of a little known actress, Veronika Vernadskaya who is actually Russian, adds some sense of reality to the location. There are some unpredictable aspects which just about move the plot on but the only real highlights in the aptly named The Darkest Hour are elements of the art direction and it falls short in all other categories.