The Darkest Hour

Oh, Max Mingella. What are you doing in a movie like Darkest Hour? Emile Hirsch, you're in it for the paycheck, I get that - you haven't done a ton of movies recently - but Mingella is fresh off such hits as The Ides of March and The Social Network. Mingella and Hirsch are two actors I like a lot, so I was happy to see that they were in this movie ... until, of course, I actually viewed it.

American friends Sean (Emile Hirsch, Taking Woodstock) and Ben (Max Minghella, The Ides of March) have traveled to Moscow to present an idea for a new social network, which they are hoping to expand to Russia. It turns out, however, that a Swede named Skyler (Joel Kinnaman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has stolen their idea and is ready to present it to the Moscow company. Ben is in despair over this, and he and Sean go for a few drinks at a club, where they meet fellow Americans Natalie (Olivia Thirlby, No Strings Attached) and Ann (Rachael Taylor, TV's Charlie's Angels). They have fun together until the power goes out, and the clubgoers are forced out to the streets, where they see something weird: a orange electrical force of sorts, that soon kills a policeman and many others.

This induces mass panic, of course, and the four of them end up cowering in a storage room at the club, along with Skyler, who has somehow weaseled his way in there with them. After three or four days, they decide it's safe to come out, and they want to find their way to the U.S. Embassy (even though the streets are deserted, there will be people at the Embassy! Right?). They find a map to help them, and they soon figure out that the alien forces, whatever they are, activate electricity, so they learn to only venture out at night, when they are able to sense the aliens before they are in danger. Eventually they meet up with a few other survivors, and they find out that there's a submarine ready to depart Moscow the next day, to meet up with survivors around the world. They must get themselves to the sub, although it means going through alien-infested areas, before it leaves Russia.

Maybe see this film. If you like cheesy alien movies, you will like this one, but it has a ton of plot holes, some which are too big to ignore. The aliens themselves are quite cool, though - the trend this year seems to be leaning towards "invisible attackers," like in Vanishing on 7th Street, a Detroit-filmed movie that has the honor of being the only 1-star film I viewed in 2011 - and some of the action scenes are better than they should be. The 3D adds nothing to the film, and you can tell that they added it post-production, so I'd advise skipping it if you do, for whatever reason, see it in theaters. I saw this movie with a friend and we were making fun of it the entire runtime, because some of the dialogue and "twists" in the movie are so ridiculous; the only good part was that there was no real horror or bloodshed. The cast in The Darkest Hour tries valiantly to make the most out of a movie that someone must have dreamed up while not entirely sober, but there's only so much you can do while constantly running around Moscow in a panic and shooting at invisible aliens with homemade microwave guns.

The Darkest Hour is in theaters today, December 25th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 89 minutes. 2 stars out of 5.

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