Hooptober 9.0 – Dark Glasses (2022)

Being Film #27 for Hooptober 2022

There are a lot of folks saying that Dark Glasses, the first film from Dario Argento in a decade and his return to giallo in even longer is a return to form. Certainly it’s his best film in over 20 years, but if you look at those film (and please, don’t) that’s a pretty low bar to clear. So let’s agree that it is a return to form, but by that I mean it’s a return to the thematic content he was certainly mining in his heyday, just without the real style and grace those classic had with manage to elevate the film over its more problematic conceits. In other words, this is a firm meh, which saddens me given my abject love for pretty much all his stuff up to Opera. Hell, throw out Trauma and I’ll go as high as The Stendhal Syndrome.

THE QUICK SUMMARY: Diana is a high priced escort who, after being attacked and pursued by a serial killer with a penchant for call girls, is left blind in a horrific car accident that claims the lives of a Asian couple, leaving only their young son named Chin alive. Soon Chin is living with Diana and on the run, because the killer is still out there, and he wants to finish what he started…

That’s it. There’s not really enough fat on the bones of this story to craft something more weighty, and more than anything it just feels like a loose skeleton for Argento to recall his own past: you get an early scene with a pair of gloves in eerie lighting putting out piano wire and strangling/slicing into a prostitute’s neck, but where earlier Argento films would go into twisted backstories and logic to account for the depravity of the killer, here’s it’s essentially “stinky guy likes to kill prostitutes.” That’s really it.

The thin story isn’t helped by the performances. If this came out 15 years ago Asia Argento would almost certainly have played the role of Diana; instead she’s given the largely thankless role of Rita, the counselor who helps Diana learn to live with her blindness. That leaves Ilenia Pastorelli as the lead and she never comes off as remotely likeable or even sympathetic in her role. The less said about her “blind acting” the better – it rarely comes off as genuine, and you could create a game where you drink every time she reaches out somewhere to touch Chin but misses.

There’s little here to really recommend Dark Glasses beyond I guess Argento obsessives who just want to have all the films under their belts. Even if you’re looking for some twisted and gory kills you only get two, so maybe better luck next time, as I hear Argento already has his next film lined up.

Me? I’ll go back to Deep Red.

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