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Explaining All the Reasons Why the Movie In Darkness is So Clever
Explaining All the Reasons Why the Movie In Darkness is So Clever - or how, sometimes it'd be nice if your entertainment thought circles around you and left you in the dark. Hah! See what I did there?
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Explaining All the Reasons Why the Movie In Darkness is So Clever

Hey there everyone! Welcome back to THiNC. – where we discuss crazy cool Independent films and movies most people have never heard of, let alone watched before. But these are movies that will make you THiNC. If you are hoping for lazy entertainment? This is not the place for you. (Might I interest you in this subreddit instead? Great!) Now that they are gone, let’s get down to it.

Today we are here to discuss a cleverly cool little movie entitled In Darkness. It sort of has a similar feel to The Invisible Person In The Room, or maybe Shimmer Lake? It’s kind of a clever dark investigatory drama with a fairly clever right hook to it at the end. Which, both of those movies have, if this movie is sort of your thing. But this movie is getting mixed reviews currently. New York Times gave it some props. But not everyone universally loved it. But do I mind bringing you movies that other people are panning? ABSOLUTELY NOT. And why would we want to listen to reviewers that to keep insisting that Hollywood bring you the same movies over and over again. No. No thank you. I want different. I want smart. And I want surprising. And that is something that In Darkness does for you today. (If that isn’t a good enough build up for a movie, I am going to retire, and just sit over there ——-> for a bit. Geesh. What more do you want people?)

And with that, you should be sold on this movie. Yes, about 3% of you will berate me for me being dense. And another 6% will belittle me for enjoying a movie that has Emily Ratajkowski in it. But whatever. Natalie Dormer kills it in this film. The story is good. And the premise is conceivable. But I’m ok with the belittlement, mainly because I’m sure that, by and large, most of you will enjoy this movie. And now, with that, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you will need to scoot. Move along. Go away. I’d like to unpack this movie and talk about it in depth now please. Great. Thanks for that.

In Darkness Movie Deep Dive and Explanation

The movie kicks off with Sofia – a blind woman that works as an accomplished movie soundtrack pianist (which makes for a fascinating score by the way. The music was created by Niall Byrne, who, I would guess, is the brother of Anthony Byrne? And Anthony is the director, and co-writer of the screenplay.). Sofia happens to “witness” a suicide. Veronique, her apartment complex leaps to her death. It’s an assumed suicide at this point. And when the police come to interview her, Sofia is less than forthcoming. Which, tips the audience immediately that something here is afoot. Not everything is as it would seem.

But then, it is discovered that the woman that died? She was the daughter of a horrible individual named Radic. Radic, it is believed, has committed unspeakable atrocities in the Bosnian war. (Which, as an aside, is the second movie I’ve discussed in as many weeks where the Bosnian war played a significant part of the back story for a movie, The Maus being the other.)

Well, the movie then flashes backwards to one of Veronique and Sofia’s interaction in their apartment complex. Sofia and Veronique discuss Veronique’s perfume. During which Veronique slips Sofia a thumb drive of Radic’s money details and business transactions. And tells her that the perfume is Liquid Gold. (Which, is learned later, is the password for the thumb drive.) But really? This thumb drive is the weakest aspect of the entire movie. It’s the definition of a McGuffin. And if you are unclear on what a McGuffin is, basically it’s just a mysterious device solely meant to drive the plot forward. That and nothing else.

Apparently though, someone wants the thumb drive back, and maybe Veronique didn’t commit suicide on the roof after all? Yeah, well, that and the cop is pretty sure Veronique didn’t commit suicide either. I mean, who gets a nose job and then commits suicide? And the deeper the cop dug, the more confused the story got. I mean, Radic was a questionable character, and who knows why his daughter could have been of interest to others or even himself. And so the investigator continued digging. Meanwhile, Marc – an investigator working on behalf of Radic – is sent to get the thumb drive back from Sofia, because it’s the only place it could be. (Which, seems like a weak assumption to me, but what do I know?) And, one thing leads to another, and Marc and Sofia are romantically engaged. (Yeah, quite possibly the laziest bit of writing of my life. But believe you me, I do not care. This trope is played out in my opinion.)

In Darkness – Sofia’s Back Story

Soon though, we begin to realize that our innocent little Sofia isn’t so innocent after all. And that happens when Sofia meets with Naill, her long time protector, and we learn there is a lot more going on in her life. And obviously this gets revealed in flashbacks and exposition over the next thirty minutes. But eventually we learn that Sofia was a Bosnian as a child, and that she lived with her parents and sister. Her family was supportive of her, and they all attempted to learn how to cope while blind so they could relate to her better.

We also learn that her mother, further back in her history, had an affair with (check that, was raped by) Radic. That ultimately conceived of Sofia. (And maybe her sister too? Were they twins? I didn’t gather that from the film, but from a later reveal, it sort of has to be true. We’ll get to that later.) So, if you aren’t the brightest bulb on the tree, it means that Sofia is actually Radic’s daughter. And it also means that Veronique is Sofia’s half sister. Or something.

Right, so, if I have this right… we have a blind woman coincidentally close to her half-sister when she dies. We also have a blind woman getting closer and closer to her estranged, horrible, atrocity committing father. And we have a man that is acting sort of like a spy in his relations with Sofia, and his protection for her. What is going on here?

Ending of the Movie In Darkness Explained

Let’s jump to the end end, and then work backwards. At the very end of the movie we learn that Naill had been watching over Sofia from the day he brought her out of her apartment after Radic’s men had come through and killed her mother, her father, and even her sister. But apparently, Sofia and her sister hid in a bureau? Is that a bureau? No, that’s a wardrobe I think. (Readers? What is that thing they hid in? Ah yes, thanks CY, an Armoire!) and the killers shot blindly into the wardrobe killing one, and not the other of the daughters randomly. And the sibling that survived happened to be the one that could see. Which brings me back to my comment that they probably had to be twins for Naill not to know the difference. But instead, for reasons that are opaque to me, the seeing daughter began to act like she was blind. Maybe as a ruse to help her to be underestimated by Radic when she eventually kills him? Or probably, a better reason, is as a coping mechanism for losing her family and her sister?

So when Radic comes to visit Sofia in her apartment unbeknownst to Radic, and more importantly, to the audience that thinks she’s totally outmatched, Sofia can see everything. And then the fight ensues. Radic attempt to strangle Sofia. Sofia smashes a vase, or some other break away glass thing, on Radic’s face. All the while, Marc is fighting with Radic’s guards, and busy getting mortally wounded. And then as Sofia has the upper hand, and is about to plunge a mirror shard into Radic’s face? Marc yells… “NO!” and shoves Radic out the window, where he is impaled on a wrought iron gate. They argue about how Sofia had him, but she would regret it… yadda.

And then she SEES that Marc is injured. Right? She uses her eyes, which have worked perfectly well the entire movie long, and she hustles over to help him. But in that moment, he realizes that she can see.

Simultaneously, the cop also learns that she can see. Why? Because of Sofia’s reaction to a “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN” poster in the post office. She had seen the poster, and then she backed away, and then the cop saw her reaction in a security video. Which, sort of begs the question. If Sofia knew long before that Marc was a notorious guy that was on the run from the police… why was she surprised at the end when movie makers edited in the montage for us, and all the places that she had seen Marc, but not understood who he was? Was it just bad editing… coupled with bad acting. Or was it something deeper? Personally, I don’t think Sofia should have shown surprise at the end. They should have cut back to the post office, and her seeing the photo on the wall, and then the flash backs of where she had seen him, so that the reveal could happen at the end. But that’s just me.

I’ll Explain, No There Is Too Much, I’ll Sum Up

So, of the two girls that went into the wardrobe, the seeing sibling came out. But acted like she couldn’t see as a response to her loss. Then she spent the next 24 years hunting Radic down, and looking for a chance to get close to the man that killed her family. In so doing, she finds out that Radic is actually her father via the raping of her mother. And when Veronique was killed, she passed off a thumb drive of Radic’s that could probably prove his guilt for war crimes (Or something McGuffin McGuffin Garbled Garbled, and what not.) So obviously, they hire Marc to infiltrate his way into Sofia’s life. They fall in love… or have sex. Whichever. And ultimately, Sofia is about to kill Radic, when Marc throws him out a window. Marc is mortally wounded, but when he realizes Sofia can actually see, he tells her to not let him see her leave. So she ties Veronique’s scarf around his eyes, in a homage back to what Sofia and her sister did when they were younger.

Sofia, slips away from the crime scene and remembers the good days with her family. Happily, Redic is dead… and she doesn’t have the guilt of his passing on her hands. She can retain her virginal purity in spite of the chaos all around her. (puke.)

I enjoyed the movie in spite of the hard time I gave some of the flat points of the film. But I found it surprisingly good for what it is. Lots of clever twists and turns if nothing else. What did you guys think of the film? Was I unkind to the film? Should I have given it more of a pass? Or was I too kind in my assessment?

Edited by, CY

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25 Responses

  1. Stray Cub

    I just wanted to address the bit about Sofia being surprised at the end. From what I read, you meant the one where she was surprised just as she was helping Marc with his wound right? It is not a surprise from Sofia realizing who Marc was, but rather the surprise of realizing she had revealed her secret by helping Marc with his wound, which showed that Sofia could see afterall.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Yes, which makes sense… totally. But then the editor, then threw in the flash back of seeing Marc on the street, and in her apartment, as if she was just making all the connections back to him. I agree, that that is what makes the most sense. But. It’s not well edited in my opinion. If they wanted to help slower folks in the crowd, they needed to wait a few minutes and do it later.

      Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Just went through it top to bottom. My apologies. Abbey? Want a job editing my posts? The pay is awful (it’s zero dollars an hour) and the disdain people will throw at you regardless of how much editing you do will still be appalling! It’s a great job!!! No I joke. I’m sorry for the sloppy writing. Hopefully it’s a little better now.

      Reply
  2. Helen

    Maybe it was actually HIS flashback (i.e.of all the times he did’t think she could see him), not hers.

    Reply
  3. Mahmoud

    ye she was surprised because she reveled that she can see
    and Helen Is Right maybe it’s his flashback not hers

    Reply
  4. Lau

    What I don’t get is what Marc and his sister (AG) had to do with the story, like, at all… Who are they? What is their relation to radic and Sofia? I just don’t get it. And why does AG want Veronique dead?

    Reply
  5. ron

    It did not compute in my estimation. Poor construction of the final scenes as they were not realistic. Now, had she been hysterically blind from shock,a psychological condition in which trauma from an injury or illness renders a patient unable to see, it would make some sense. Then another shock restores her blindness? Perhaps finding she’s ‘his’ daughter…?
    Really, you can’t make sense of the number of contradictions of her acting blind, with her demeanor, tripping ???purposely on the stairs, not reacting to the flash of a hand in her face, not reacting to a guy in her room with a gun?
    Sure she might act blind, but automatic reactions can’t be sublimated if your just acting.
    Nope, I don’t buy the premise, it does not compute.

    Peeves

    Reply
  6. anton

    Dear god, this movie is so absurd, artifitially convoluted, incoherent, based on twisty clichés, subverting expectation on an obvious and dull way, revealing fact after fact in a completely confusing way. The only good thing about it are the first 30 minutes where everything is calm and misterious. The last good thing about it is when she lies to the police. It’s truly good up to that point. The first scene in the music studio is, dare I say, excellent. Everything is BS.

    I’d question the legitimacy of everyone actually liking this. Seriously.

    Reply
  7. Taylor Holmes

    Hey Anton,
    Fair, if you don’t buy the hook, and the switch it is a bit of a reach. But why don’t you give us a different movie better worth our time? Preferably something we haven’t heard of. I’m sure you’ve got something up your sleeve…

    Taylor

    Reply
  8. Yaving

    But if she really could see, then why didn’t she see the poison the first time she meets Ravic ? She is like desperately trying to figure out where the heck is the bottle when it was right in front of her the whole time…

    Reply
  9. Milan

    I agree with what Ron said in comments “a psychological condition in which trauma from an injury or illness renders a patient unable to see. Then another shock restores her blindness?” Why acting blind when she could take that bottle/poison from the floor and get over it, it’s not like she was fooling us.

    Reply
  10. Remy C.

    I think the poster was in the police station, not the post office. Also, she stabbed Marc with the piece of broken mirror as she was aiming for Radic’s neck when Marc pulled Radic off her. He wasn’t wounded or shot when he barged into the apartment. What’s puzzling is that it didn’t seem like a mortal wound at all, and nothing says Marc is indeed dead when the cop walks in. Just passed out maybe? Yes, the last minute not the blind girl twist makes no sense considering all her actions in the film. 24 years charade is a long time. No hint of hysterical blindness either. No extras on the DVD to enlighten further. An enjoyable mess…

    Reply
  11. Jane

    I was confused and looking for answers at the end of the movie, thanks for clearing everything up !

    In my opinion, from what I understood and what you wrote, Sophia either took the identity of her blind sibling to have her ennemies underestimate her, and maybe as a tribute to her sister too. I didn’t understand why she would keep playing the blind girl once alone in her home, but then realized that it was probably in case someone was watching her directly from her place (just like Marc at the beginning), so she doesn’t reveal her secret. That proves that she is very careful, suspicious and determined.
    I didn’t understand either why she had this surprised reaction in front of Marc when he’s wounded, but what Stray club said makes total sense. Maybe the editing was a bit confused indeed.

    BUT, the last thing that kept me from understanding the whole thing is: if she was playing the blind girl to get to Radic, why did she failed to poison him ? Was it to fool the viewer ? Or did she prefer to fail the poisoning rather than risk to reveal her real identity ? I’d say the second option… It would make her a very involved, determined and meticulous character.

    Anyway at the very end, it really seems like she’s about to become someone else, to take a new identity, maybe closer to her true-self. Sofia, the blind pianist, has done what she had to do, she can disappear. The character (I forgot her real name, said by the woman who tells her Niall had passed), is on her way for a new life, probably with a new name and a whole new identity.

    Reply
  12. Shelly

    I think Sofia was psychologically blind from the trauma of her family, a coping mechanism perhaps….. and she can see, but can’t at the same time. I really enjoyed the movie, but a little weak in the process of the detective figuring something out about her was thrown in… her “mystery box” so to speak, that he gets a great clue, but will obviously never figure the truth out. The movie didn’t play him up enough, maybe because the focus is to be soley it seemed to me on her. Also, i think she was shocked in the end because she realized she had stabbed the wrong person & her “psychological blindness” was ended for her during the death of her supposed true father coupled with the death of a man who possibly started to make her vunerable because she was self sufficient until he came into her life…weak again i know. Now she deals with “total” sight, wraps his eyes with the magic scarf because they maybe love each other, (weak i know again) & he’s dying, saves her yet again by telling her to leave. As she’s walking away, i think we are to experience with her, her new revelations; she i can totally see now, & to make her new start & leave the past behind, the venerable Sophia may even realize that she is not the Bad man’s daughter after all…….. she is the sister that wasn’t blind. Now she can feel unrelated once again…… as it should be to give her the innocent projection as we discovered her at the beginning.

    Reply
  13. Kashi

    The compilation of flashbacks at the end of the movie is not to connect Marc to a sudden recognition by Sofia but to show the audience how she subtly acknowledged him through sight each time she was near him, something that could not be revealed until the viewer knew that Sofia was actually sighted. I still don’t understand why she didn’t just pick up the vial though.

    Reply
  14. bree

    Sofia is not radic’s daughter, her little sister was. remember how he says that the blind catholic woman had a muslim husband and they had a daughter? she was born before radic knew her mother. that being said, i still don’t get why she pretended to be blind or how that helped the plot? i get how they wanted the character to be blind, and also have that twist at the end but they need to work that into the plot little better…

    Reply
  15. don

    Doesn’t anyone else find it totally ridiculous that Sofia spent her entire life pretending to be blind? That’s the real McGuffin. Just so they can surprise us at the end. I like surprises when they’re well done (The Sixth Sense, Crying Game). This one wasn’t well done.

    Reply
  16. David

    This was the first website I seen after I watched the movie. Great article and your
    reply about the editing was funny lolllll

    Reply
  17. Christine A Ritter

    I came here looking for an explanation for this movie and I thank you. I love movies that have the twists and hidden surprises and I normally am pretty quick on understanding them, but this one left me with … “whaaah??”

    Reply
  18. Ranget Trung

    If Sofia is not blind then she was not Redic’s daughter right?
    Cus Redic said that he raped Sofia’s mother then she gave birth to a daughter and the daughter was blind, but the one that blind is dead, so Sofia was not Redic’s daughter.

    Reply
  19. sarpsukka

    No, she wasn’t his daughter. But her sister was. But, she didn’t know that until Radic told her. And her pretending to be blind relates to the fact that their father wanted the daughters to be equal, so he covered Sofia’s eyes everytime they were together, playing the piano etc. in the past. So she learned to be “blind”. That is why after her whole family died that was probably her coping method to keep going as a blind person and then somehow going after Radic, which she had been doing for years. She just wanted to avenge her family.

    Reply

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