Newest Review: ... happens. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ Right from the outset, Dark Water is very attention-grabbing and depicts an almost i... more
Water water everywhere!
Dark Water  (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Dark Water  (DVD)
Date: 23/02/12, updated on 23/02/12 (76 review reads)
Advantages: Brooding, mysterious, grimly gripping, well-acted
Disadvantages: Film sets are too dark, one very over the top scene
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 100 mins
DIRECTOR: Walter Salles
PRODUCERS: Doug Davison, Roy Lee & Bill Mechanic
SCREENPLAY: Rafael Yglesias
MUSIC: Angelo Badalamenti
Jennifer Connelly as Dahlia
Ariel Gade as Ceci
Pete Postlethwaite as Veeck
John C Reilly as Mr Murray
Dougray Scott as Kyle
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Apparently a remake of a 2002 Japanese film, Dark Water tells the story of Dahlia who is going through a very bitter divorce from her husband Kyle. As custody and access battles deepen over their little daughter Ceci, Dahlia signs a lease on an apartnment on the 9th floor of a crumbling block in a seedy area of New York, with a view to it being better located for her work and that the local school Ceci will attend is one of the best in the city.
Once Dahlia and Ceci move in, after having received promises from the landlord, Mr Murray, that he will re-decorate the squalid little apartment and the surrounding corridors, strange things start to happen.
Water constantly drips through the ceiling from the 10th floor apartment above Dahlia and Ceci's bedroom......then Ceci invents an imaginary friend.
From the very creepy building caretaker (Veeck), Dahlia learns about how the flat above hers was abandoned, and receives constant promises that something will be done about the water dripping through the ceiling.
Meanwhile and as Kyle tightens the custody/access demand thumbscrews, Ceci's behaviour becomes increasingly worrying.
That pretty much sets the scene....and as ever, you must watch it yourself to find out what happens.
Right from the outset, Dark Water is very attention-grabbing and depicts an almost immediate sense of grim mystery as Dahlia and Ceci try to settle in the tatty 9th floor apartment.
Water very much is the theme of the film, as in addition to the wet stuff pouring through Dahlia's and Ceci's bedroom ceiling, the weather is torrential rain, spread over a period of a few days.
This is quite a bleak movie set in an almost hostile environment in one of New York City's less affluent areas and you can almost taste the tension oozing out of the semi high-rise building that is literally falling apart. The décor is grim, the lift functions are questionable....something very akin to a British inner-city tower block which has seen better days.
One thing which struck me as odd about the building where Dahlia and Ceci make their home, is that despite it being an overcrowded, multi-occupancy rabbit-hole of corridors and closed apartment doors, little or nothing is seen of any of the other residents. I would have thought that at least a little noise could be heard emanating from the other flats or maybe Dahlia realistically could have come face to face with one of her neighbours, but that strangely didn't happen.
Dark Water is a very well-acted film and it is so well put together, that I almost believed it to be real....especially during the build-up. Ariel Glade is a cute little girl who performed very well, especially displaying some brilliant facial expressions as she oscillates between feeling torn between her two parents, and being scared of something which seems to be around her. My other favourites are Jennifer Connelly as Dahlia, who played the loving young mum with an admirable depth and sensitivity, and Pete Postlethwaite as Veeck, the eerie, uncommunicative caretaker....he really unnerved me, and if I was contemplating a move to a building which he was minding, I'd certainly think twice before deciding to sign the lease!
The music to the film is very apt and well-placed, exquisitely spicing up the overall sense of unease which runs through the whole proceedings.
For the most part, Dark Water is quite convincing, but there was a small section close to the end which I did find overstepped the credibility mark, but which then mutated into a very decent, thought-provoking ending.
The main problem I did have whilst watching this film was that, like so many other productions from the past decade (give or take a couple of years), many of the scenes take place in darkness, or lighting which is muted to a point whereby it is difficult to see exactly what is happening. I feel that had a little more illumination been allowed and the over the top part close to the end were altered slightly, then I'd not hesitate in awarding the full five stars....but as it stands, I have to knock one off due to those faults making the film less enjoyable than it otherwise might have been/
Dark Water is definitely one for fans of the psychological thriller genre. It is convincing (mostly), well-acted, well produced and directed, with a gripping story that scores nil out of ten on the boredom scale. My attention was absorbed, fully and throughout. However, the way I feel at the moment, it quite likely is a film that probably would only stand one viewing, due to its mystery element. Once that has been revealed, as it now has been for me, I see little point in watching it again, as the mystery is the crux of Dark Water and what holds the viewer glued to the screen from beginning to end. Although the acting by the whole cast is excellent, I don't see that in itself as being enough to pull me back to the film, simply because of its nature....the film's nature, I mean.
I'd imagine that Dark Water would greatly appeal to all fans of psychological thrillers and it is a strong enough film to keep any viewer totally absorbed for the whole duration. I just wish those scenes which come across as too dark were clearer and that the little bit which is rather over the top had been dumbed down somewhat.
On a final note, I strongly recommend Dark Water and can say that it has penetrated my consciousness at some level, because I do feel slightly nervous about going to sleep in case I have bad dreams triggered it. That for me is the ultimate hallmark of an almost - but not quite - perfect psycho/thriller. How it compares to the Japanese original I have no idea, but if this is a remake, then it appears to be a very good one.
At the time of writing, Dark Water can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.38 to £26.83
Used: from 14p to £4.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A well-worth watching creepy mystery psychological thriller