Pitch Black

"Essential"

Pitch Black Review


Mama, could you leave the hall light on tonight?

One thing I love to see in a film is definition of character without the need for a windy, Oscar speech or the death of a loved one that prompts an "emotional release." The only genre that gives you that type of character is the Western. The Western is littered with good men with bad hearts and bad men who struggle for a clean conscience. The words of these men carry a heavy emotional burden and clearly define and expose the true nature of the person. Pitch Black is one of the best films I have seen in a very long time, and it carves its roots from the essence of a Western, providing amazing clarity with a direct narrative prose.

From the moment the lights dim, the audience is thrown into an emotional situation where innocent people go to "meet their maker" and survival is their first instinct. In those first moments, Pitch Black wraps its hands around your neck and never lets go. To wit: A passenger spaceship carrying 40 people hits some type of space debris and crash lands on a barren, desert planet with only 7 people walking away. The survivors include a convicted murder with infrared lenses for eyes, a marshal with a hidden agenda, a selfish pilot focused on saving her own ass, a religious leader with three followers, and various odds and ends of characters. The three suns shine brightly on the planet's surface, and the hodgepodge of survivors form a loose collation to survive. The only problem is that something is hiding in the shadows, waiting for them in the dark.

This simple plot lets the script take shape and lets the characters develop and define their own prerogatives. With amazing cinematography that resembles the work of the David O. Russell film Three Kings, director David Twohy gives the planet a barren, washed-out look, and all of the interiors of the wrecked ship a cool metallic tinge. One of main elements that gives the film such a film grip on the senses in the presence of Vin Diesel, currently seen in the new film Boiler Room and from last year's Saving Private Ryan. His cool, somewhat haunting prose littered with poignant words reminds you of the gunslinger who has killed one too many people and has lost touch with the human race: A man of honor who provides the main catalyst for defining his fellow characters' personal attributes and motivations.

By underexposing the terror that lies in wait for the survivors, the feelings of suspense and claustrophobia are astonishing. What lies beyond the circle of light? What lies beyond the light bears a strong resemblance to the aliens designed by Geiger and the movements of the creatures mimic those of the raptors of Jurassic Park. But Twohy lets us also "see" through the eyes of the aliens and take part in the hunt for food. (The concept was first employed in the Schwartzenegger vehicle from the '80s, Predator.)

The most attractive element of Pitch Black is how beautiful the cinematography is, while developing a real sense of an alien world. You can almost feel the heat from the ground and the dizziness of the humidity in the air. The mish-mash of B-actors pull together some terrific acting, and no loose ends of the storyline are left hanging in the lurch. It's pretty amazing when you realize this script came from the guys that wrote the riveting drama, The Birds II: Land's End.

For the ride of your life (or at least just two hours of mayhem), Pitch Black will leave you with the sudden urgency to leave the hall light on when you climb into bed that night. But it's a lot scarier to not know what's in the dark, waiting for you to turn the corner. Wes Craven and John Carpenter taught us that a long time ago.

DVD features all kinds of extras, including two commentary tracks, featurettes, trailers, and more.

Aka The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black.

Black and light.



Pitch Black

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th February 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $53.2M

Budget: $23M

Distributed by: Gramercy Pictures/ USA Films

Production compaines: Interscope Communications

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 59 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David N. Twohy

Producer:

Starring: as Richard B. Riddick, as Carolyn Fry, as William J. Johns, as Jack / Jackie, as Paris P. Ogilvie, as Shazza, Simon Burke as Greg Owens, as Abu "Imam" al-Walid, as John 'Zeke' Ezekiel, Les Chantery as Suleiman, Sam Sari as Hassan, Firass Dirani as Ali, Ric Anderson as Total Stranger, Vic Wilson as Captain Tom Mitchell, as Dead Crew Member

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.