Okay before I start, I should confess that I walked into Darkness Bride late. The film had been running for about five minutes before I got there. It’s entirely possible that the first five minutes of Darkness Bride explained a lot of the film. But I doubt it.
I have no fucking idea what this film is about.
Even re-reading the Melbourne International Film Festival guide right now, I don’t actually recognise the description given to Darkness Bride.
Now, I understand the events that occur in this film (at least most of them) – people go places, get jealous, look for their missing friend… But I don’t understand why all this is happening. I really don’t. There’s a ménage à trois in there somewhere, as well as some of the poorer parts of China’s seething underbelly (the country, not the wrestler).
BUT THERE’S ALSO AN EVIL DONKEY.
Seriously. All is going along fine in a reasonably incoherent manner, when suddenly we are subjected to the image of a donkey that’s not just looking at the main characters, but looking at them suspiciously. I know it’s a suspicious look because the music cue at that moment seems to suggest this. Then to make matters worse, he makes a reappearance later on in the film!!!
The Chinese landscape presented here is incredible. At times it resembles some sort of post apocalyptic wasteland – I almost expected the Gunslinger to walk into frame (from Stephen King’s ‘To The Dark Tower’ series), or maybe even ‘He-Man’… it does seem to resemble Eternia in a vaguely disconcerting way.
Some of the cinematography is great in Darkness Bride, though much of the credit should go to the locations themselves – giant nuclear reactors belching out steam whilst children play in the foreground, cloaked figures making their way across a desert plain, leaving dust trails in their wake.
But it’s just so damn incoherent – not in a ‘weird for the sake of being weird’ Cremaster way, but just strange. I don’t even know why it’s called Darkness Bride. There was a wedding at the start, true… but… I…
I don’t understand!
This film truly belongs in the pantheon of WTF films – I can’t remember seeing a film I understood so little of in the last two years. I don’t know why anyone would want to see this film, much less why anyone would make it.
I was going to give Darkness Bride half a star for the cinematography… but the presence of the EVIL DONKEY negates this.Rating: