Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dreaming of A Better Life, or A Different One, or Thoughts on Dark Corners

Written and Directed by Ray Gower in his big screen debut, Dark Corners (2006) is a haunting psychological thriller with an intriguing premise; Thora Birch portrays two characters but they’re not twins, they’re dreaming each other’s lives.  Thora is Susan, blonde, professional, happily married to a handsome doctor in England but by night she dreams of Karen, a brunette, single mortuary worker living in a vaguely dystopian, burnt-out Eastern European city.  Both of them are experiencing violent visions, maybe flashbacks or flash forwards; the movie plays fast and loose with the time line.  There’s also a serial killer on the loose in Karen’s life, so you know all those elements will meet up at the end.
With Toby Stephens, who you may remember as Gustav Graves in Die Another Day (2002) and Severance   (2006), or more recently in Black Sails, as Dr. Woodleigh, the handsome hypno-therapist helping Karen with her nightmares.  Reminiscent of Christina Ricci in The Gathering (2003), another quirky indie American having a weird experience in England, Dark Corners is worth a watch on the strength of Thora Birch's performance and the audience wanting to know what the heck is going on.
The existential plight of the dreamer and the dream usually produces bad poetry from a first year philosophy student, and the resolution in Dark Corners is in some ways unsatisfying and obvious.  It feels as if the filmmakers were forced into a corner and had to choose a way out, supernatural or psychological.  You know which way I’d prefer, but then again, I am the dream, not the dreamer.

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