Tim Sutton’s Dark Night is not a comfortable watch, but provides a unique movie experience.On Saturday, June 26th, I was privileged enough to watch Tim Sutton’s Dark Night. Dark Night is based upon the infamous Aurora Massacre, but the film lacks the element of violence expected from a movie whose premise germinated from a mass murder. With the movie being filmed in Florida, using mostly non-actors, the audience quickly realizes that while this film is based on the Aurora Massacre, it’s also much bigger than that. Dark Night instead sets out to make a larger point about these tragedies and it does so by focusing on the ordinary people who are, or will be, affected.
The entire work takes place before any mass shooting and for most of the film, the audience has no idea who is the culprit. Instead, we mostly see ordinary people who are ordinarily flawed. As a result, the movie contains no actual violence, only few moments of near violence and an ending just before a presumed mass shooting happens at a movie theater.
What makes this film such a unique watch is the fact there is almost no element of a plot. This creates an uneasy feel, as well as a heightened sense that everything on the screen is extra significant, despite the fact that the film is mostly depicting ordinary lives. Tim Sutton also masterfully creates a sense of isolation by almost never having any of the characters interact which is increased by very cold surroundings in which there is almost no nature. Tim Sutton also masterfully weaves in documentary-like interviews, increasing the human element of the film, but still only providing minimal levels of background for few of the characters.
Devoid of plot, and almost completely lacking in dialogue, Tim Sutton manages to create a film about life, and about tragedy, without violence. It’s not an ordinary movie experience, but if given the chance by the audience, it will be an impactful one.
We screened the film at BAMCINEMAFEST 2016.