Another film based on a series of books that I haven’t read so I of course have no knowledge going in. I am aware of the series as it was in the bookcase of my house when I was a kid. I don’t read as much as I should but I kind of want to read it now.
Synopsis: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the world’s at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black. (Sony Pictures)
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, and Tom Taylor
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Nikolaj Arcel
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 95mins
For showtimes and more, check out The Dark Tower on movietimes.com.
This film has a considerable amount of source material to fall back on but we never got a sense of this here. Of course there is more material than any one film could possibly cover but this one could have done a better job, especially since this is the first film of what will probably be a series. This particular film threw us right into the story without explaining too much. The answers are on the periphery, however, the film never gets there as viewers are kept at arm’s length so fans of the book series may be disappointed.
The film is also incredibly short for what the trailers were making it out to be, clocking in at just over 90 minutes. For a film called The Dark Tower, it was barely about the tower as it focused more about the battle between The Gunslinger (Elba) and the Man in Black (McConaughey). Their conflict felt hollow as the plot lacked the backstory to flesh out both characters, choosing to rather hint at their past history.
They only way that we learn about both characters are through visions of a boy named Jake Chambers (Taylor). His importance to the plot fell under the unexplained but he was basically the one that brought the two ennemies back together. He was a troubled kid whose parents didn’t believe his dreams about The Gunslinger, The Men in the Black and their world, thinking he was crazy. Ultimately, his backstory was meaningless for the most part and didn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of the film.
The biggest problem with the film is that it simply rushes through everything and never gives viewers the chance to experience the film’s ambitious world and relegates it to the background. Because of this, the film plays out like a standard action film, unoriginal plot and all. The rushing also emphasized the plot’s lack of depth and never allowed the viewer to connect with any of the characters on an emotional level and making them all not the most compelling to watch as a result. The abrupt ending may also disappoint.
The action was decent but there wasn’t nearly enough of it, featuring only one remotely memorable sequence. The problem with this was that it didn’t come until near the end of the film. While it was well shot, the thing that really sold it was Elba’s performance as The Gunslinger. He was the best part of the film. He fully commits to the role as the gruff and rugged loner. Taylor was okay and had decent chemistry with Elba though he couldn’t grasp the emotional moments of the story. McConaughey looked out of place here as there was something that just wasn’t quite right about him. He was simply not believable as the villain and had no chemistry with Elba, however, it wasn’t all their fault. They did their best with the film’s mediocre script although there were still a few cheesy moments.
Overall, this was a disappointing film that was full of potential that we never got to experience as the viewer is kept at arm’s length throughout and is also let down by its rushed story and its mediocre script and direction.