There’s a 2011 feature also with the title In Darkness but there are through connecting both movies. This new one though is about two women facing their own troubles. One is Sofia (Natalie Dormer) a blind pianist. The other is Serbian Veronique Radic (Emily Ratajkowski). She is rebelling against her dad (Jan Bijvoet). He, by the way, is under trial for being one of the perpetrators of the Bosnian Genocide. They’re neighbors in a London apartment building.
That’s until the pregnant Veronique falls off from her balcony, or maybe someone pushed her. Sofia, who lives downstairs from Veronique is the star witness to a possible murder. A woman, Alex (Joely Richardson), allegedly hires her brother Marc (Ed Skrein) to kill Sofia. He balks, his motivations getting more unclear after learning about her blindness. If that sounds convoluted, let’s wait until the spy thriller prattles on and offer its mindless twists.
Dormer co-wrote this thriller with its director and her fiancee, Anthony Byrne, and they overstack it with intrigue. Marc has feelings for Veronique and he might also have been the father of her unborn child. Everybody seems to have been in love with everybody else. If not, they’re having affairs whether consent is on the table. And all of that is occurring while murder has happened and the threat of it is strong. One at a time, people.
Byrne takes us the usual places. Like putting his protagonist with a different ability through a chase scene at the end of the second act. He does have a knack for visuals, strong block colors, even using calming ones when the mood is tense. I like the counter intuitive contrasts but there’s always a sense that he’s borrowing. There’s obvious copies from the Giallo aesthetic and then muting it down for 21st century eyes.
The movie’s few silver linings are its three complex female characters. All of them wrestle to have lives outside of the men in their lives. However, it’s mostly and thankfully a showcase for Dormer. Her eyes are purposefully blank yet they convey the life of a woman’s weariness. There’s also a smirk that she has. It tells the audience that she’s not as damsel-y as her role seems to be in the beginning.
That said, the film’s execution isn’t good enough to make their audience believe how the story turns. There’s also theme about London and the Western World in general. That they’re the second locations where immigrants act out their vendettas. It’s frustrating for Byrne and Dormer to explore some themes well while dropping the ball on others. Nonetheless, there are hints of promise for both despite this stumbling block.