Review by Monique Thompson
Libby Day was only seven years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Twenty-five years later, she agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
Not getting as much attention as it’s predecessor Gone Girl by author Gillian Flynn, Dark Places is the second of the author’s three published novels to be turned into a feature film. Charlize Theron stars as the lead, Libby Day, who’s running dry of the money she has made over the years from donors and the media following her mother and sisters murder two decades ago. Since the night of the horrific tragedy, Libby has always been convinced that her older brother Ben is to blame for the murders, considering he even confessed to them. When Libby is propositioned by an amateur group of investigators called the “Kill Club”, led by Lyle, she agrees to entertain their curiosity that her brother is innocent in exchange for money. Libby will unearth some secrets about her past that will make her begin to question herself what really happened that fateful night.
The film is narrated in the opening scene by Libby and its quite evident from the beginning that the character has been living a troubled life since the murders. Theron has a gritty, tomboyish manner that she always plays so well (as seen in Max Mad: Fury Road). The film shifts between present day and the past highlighting the events that troubled Libby the most and led up to the murders.
While many psychological thrillers usually do the constant shifting from one point in time to the next, it just really wasn’t necessary this go ’round. The height of the film unfortunately didn’t come until the last 15-20 minutes. Up until that point, things just move along entirely too slow. With the critically acclaimed Gone Girl being a huge success, naturally it set the bar really high but unfortunately may end up being a disappointment. On the flip side, Theron knows what she’s doing and transforms yet again into the grimy role that she’s such a pro at. Most of the films best moments are certainly when the grown Libby Day is at the center.
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