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‘Dark Glasses’: Movie Review And Rating

Robby Steven

‘Dark Glasses’ or ‘Occhiali Neri’ in Itlaian, is a 2022 Giallo film written and directed by Dario Argento. Starring Ilenia Pastorelli. Asia Argento, and Xinyu Zhang.

‘Dark Glasses’ Background and Story:

For the first time since 2012’s misfire in ‘Dracula 3D,” the Italian Maestro Dario Argento has returned. Argento’s previous films, ‘Dracula 3D’ and ‘Giallo,’ were panned by critics and fans. The reaction was so harsh that it was assumed the legendary director’s career was over. A decade later Argento had some unfinished business to attend to, which he did in the form of finally completing his long-awaited film ‘Occhiali Neri,’ aka ‘Dark Glasses.’

‘Dark Glasses’ tells the story of a prostitute named Diana who is targeted by a killer and chased into a car accident. The accident leaves the other driver and passenger dead and Diana blind. Diana befriends the young son of those she accidentally killed, as they team up with her nurse Rita in trying to hunt down the killer.

Analysis:

The film is an interesting one from the start, as it lacks Argento’s usual tense and gruesome opening in exchange for a moment of a total eclipse. The eclipse damages Diana’s eyesight in an obvious foreshadowing of what’s to come. Not long after the opening scene, however, we witness Diana on the attack in what will remind longtime Argento fans of his Giallo days. The flashy cinematography and dream-like sets that Argento has come to be known for in films like ‘Suspiria,’ ‘Inferno,’ and ‘Opera,’ take a backseat in ‘Dark Glasses.‘ The look of the film is not dull or dry but rather muted in shades of dark blues, greens, and blacks. This cinematic choice provides a sense of a visual struggle, reflecting Diana’s own personal obstacle.

When discussing an Argento film, one would be remiss if they didn’t touch on the score. Originally tapped for Daft Punk to handle the soundtrack and score, plans were quickly changed when the band abruptly broke up in 2021. Enter Arnaud Rebotini, an award-winning member of the band Black Strobe. Rebotini’s musical touch was made evident in the early moments of the film as we move slowly with the sounds to match the gathering of people gazing at the eclipse. The music hits its stride quickly with the soundtrack’s main title song that uses a synthesizer to keep you on your toes. This track is the anchor of the score and works extremely well in the more intense scenes of the film.

Acting and Special FX:

The acting is solid and never crosses over to the overly campy side. This is often the case in Giallo films. Ilenia Pastorelli impresses in the lead role of Diana, and her chemistry with the young boy Chin is believable. You cheer for them throughout the film, and that’s all you can really ask for. Asia Argento takes a backseat as far as screen time, but her role is effective. She’s on-screen enough that the viewer won’t feel cheated. As always, she does a stellar job as Rita, Diana’s nurse, and blind aide.

Another factor in looking at an Argento film is the gore and blood. While what is shown is done well, it is one of the weaker aspects of the movie. Argento is known for his creative kills that don’t hold back, surprising and shocking viewers in the process. The kills in ‘Dark Glasses’ are effective, but nothing stands out as Argento-like. This results in a bit of a letdown in that area.

Ending: Spoiler Warning

In the end, Diana and Chin and taken hostage by the killer. The killer is revealed to be a former client of Diana who she once offended by pointing out his bad hygiene. This might seem a bit implausible, however, less believable murderous motives occur in real life. Before the killer could finish off the duo, Diana’s guide dog saves the day and rips the killer’s throat until he bleeds out. The movie ends with Diana taking Chin to the airport to meet with his aunt and be taken back home. Diana walks through the airport, guide dog by her side, finally at peace with her new life.

‘Dark Glasses’: Final Thoughts and Rating

‘Dark Glasses’ is a step-up from Dario Argento’s last two films, with ‘The Card Player’ (2004) and ‘Mother of Tears’ (2007) receiving mixed reviews. Only time will tell if ‘Dark Glasses’ is regarded as better, worse, or on par with those entries. Another watch is needed, but as it stands, it’s his best film since 2001’s ‘Sleepless.’ Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

‘Dark Glasses’ will be streaming on Shudder later this fall.

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