Here I am, 24 hours after viewing the film DARLING and I'm still not sure if I liked it or not. So strange. The film washed over me and left a mark for sure, but to say I liked or didn't like it...it's difficult. It stays with you.
The film is simple. The lovely Lauren Ashley Carter plays Darling who is starting as a house sitter for a beautiful, huge house. The house as a bit of a history, but it's nothing to be too concerned about. It's not long before noises are heard and the sanity of the young, darling Darling...is in question.
There's nothing really new here, however it's super interesting and presented well. That's certain. The film is beautifully shot. Lauren Ashley Carter's ::::swoon::: performance is grand and creepy. She walks the nutter line expertly. She's a beauty and it's fun to see her transform from a shy, doe-like little girl into a grown woman with a serious problem. The film is presented in chapters, so we are given a sort of "heads up" before a few of the major sections. It's also filled with odd visuals and some flashing, seizure inducing lights from time to time that add to the overall WTF of the film. hehehe We're given time to follow Darling in her decent into being...in really deep...and it's a fun journey. A journey filled with creepy soundscapes as well. The film's score is adds to the creep factor in a wondrous way.
I really enjoy Mickey Keating 's work. His direction and writing is always simple and refined. And, above all, interesting. As with his other film POD, the ace is slow and steady. And, like it was a tank, it slowly and steadily moves forward with a sort of heavy force that is unstoppable. I love that.
The film is very similar to Polanski's REPULSION. As with Catherine Deneuve's character in the 1965 feature, this character of Darling slowly descends into a sort of madness that is very interesting to watch. It's really the performance that sells it. Lesser actresses would oversell the madness and it wouldn't be believable.
The black and white helps sell the feel as well. I'm sure it's - again - in partial homage to Polanski's film. It really is a pretty film. We're also shown many buildings as the film moves on which i took as a reminder that New York is a huge city and Darling is just one of many people within it. Just how many people out there are alone....and loosing it.
Brian Morvant and Sean Young were super strong in the film as well, though they were not in it much. The whole of the film is Lauren Ashley Carter front and center and she carries it wonderfully.
So, on reflection, it seems that I do like this film. It's stuck with me and I look back on scenes and the overall feeling of the film and it makes me want to watch it again. Check it out and let me know how you feel about it.
THEN, AFTER A RE-WATCH OF DARLING
Dang...I totally missed a key point on my first viewing of DARLING. Two things, really. Two things that changed my whole outlook on the film from "I think I liked it" to "I friggin love this film!"
On re-watch, I saw a few key things and that, in turn, made other key lines of dialogue change completely, which ended up filling in the holes that I had that were making me confused about the whole of it. After seeing what I saw, there was this wave of love I had for the film that was rather comical - including an actual, physical head slap with audible, "Oh....OH MAN!"
Seeing as this is a spoiler free review, I don't want to get into what those points were, but keep your eyes and ears open during the film. Don't stop to post things like, "Still digging DARLING - wonder how it will end..." or some such in the middle of it. (...which I'm pretty sure I did during one of these moments)
Like the titular Darling, I have completed my journey and arrive at the end of it a changed person. :)
FINAL VERDICT: I love DARLING. Fantastic film with many deep and dark levels. Solid!