“Dark Arc” – The strange obsession over permanent visual memories.
Written and directed by: Dan Zukovic
Starring: Sarah Strange, Dan Zukovic, and Kurt Max Runte
Lately, I have been watching a long list of films that are very “Love, hate” and “Dark Arc” is no exception. Dan Zukovic (Writer, director, and star) has created a film that I can’t even label as genre-bending. It doesn’t fit into any genre. I guess you could call it a neo-noir, experimental, black comedy (or something along those lines). Many critics have called it “Pretentious” and “Film school fodder”. Others praise it as being a “Visual feast” and “Darkly hilarious”. This critic puts it somewhere right in the middle. It is not terrible, but it also is not as ingenious as it pretends to be.
Viscount Laris (Zukovic) is a former art critic, who is obsessed with the idea of charged images and the effect that visual memories have on a person’s psyche. He decides to play puppet master with a make-up artist (Sarah Strange) and a graphic designer (Kurt Max Runte) in an attempt to complete a “Personal project”. The woman, Juxta, believes herself to be his partner in the experiment to affect Ed’s life through presenting him with charged images, but soon realizes she is just another piece of the puzzle.
The film’s dialogue is incredibly dense. At times I enjoyed that aspect (the same way I enjoyed it in films like “House of Yes”). There were a few points though where it just seemed like the movie and it’s characters were trying too hard to convince the viewer of it’s (or their) intellectual superiority. Kind of like the kid in high school who is not in the “Cool kid” clique, but tries to be by buying the same clothes and using the same vernacular as them. Every time “Dark Arc” started to seem like it was an smart or edgy film, it would slap me in the face with a bit that just seemed too over the top art house.
There is some good acting here, especially in the case of Sarah Strange as the femme fatale muse of the project. There is also no lack of intriguing imagery. The score, which is probably the highlight of the film, is very atmospheric. I even quite enjoyed the brutal ending of the film, but overall it just felt like it didn’t quite work. I almost get the feeling that Mr. Zukovic watched a lot of David Lynch films, and decided to try to replicate the haunting noirish tones that are present in each of Lynch’s movies but came up a little short.
“Dark Arc” might be worth a watch, if you are really into image based, experimental films. Or maybe even if you are a big fan of a clever turn of phrase. Otherwise, I would probably suggest you look elsewhere. You will probably have a hard time with this film.