By: Leah Kuperman
In Darkness stars a blind protagonist who gets caught in the violent crimes of the London underground. Writer/director Anthony Byrne (BBC’s Peaky Blinders) offers viewers a gripping film with ample twists and turns but most interesting, however, was the way his movie portrayed the life and disability of its protagonist.
The film begins when a blind musician, Sofia (Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer), hears the murder of her upstairs neighbor. Sofia is dragged into the dangerous world of war criminals and investigations, while leaving the audience wondering what she’s really up to. In Darkness keeps you on your toes the entire time, especially with its unnerving score that ties in with Sofia’s musical career. The audience is left tense when we see something Sofia does not. We watch her navigate terrifying situations with only her heightened sense of hearing. At times, certain background noises are amplified as they would be for Sofia, so much so that it is overwhelming.
Dormer gives an excellent performance. She conveys all the tension, fear, and emotion necessary for a role like this. Yet, it would be quite interesting if a role centered around the blindness of the character was actually played by a blind actress. This could open protagonist roles to individuals living with disabilities, besides portraying them on screen. Apart from the action plot, we see Sofia navigate aspects of daily life that touch many people who are blind, which is very important. The cast is rounded out by Emily Ratajkowski (We Are Your Friends) and Jan Bijvoet (Borgman), as well as a decent turn from Ed Skrein (Deadpool) who plays a typical brooding bad boy who is always ready to save the day.
While not outstanding from the rest of its genre, In Darkness is still an entertaining and mindful action thriller.