Saturday, January 26, 2019


Movie Name: Darkman
Year of Release: 1990
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, Larry Drake, Nelson Mashita, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Dan Hicks, Ted Raimi, Aaron Lustig, Nicholas Worth
Genre: Action, Crime
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Sam Raimi followed his well received "Evil Dead II" with his first studio film (in this case for Universal). The film is an original creation of his, inspired by the horror films of the 30s. The feature follows the story of Peyton Westlake, a medical scientist who is working on a special project focused on synthetic skin. Sadly the locale where he works, is of interest for some gangsters, who force him and his associates violently out, some dying in the process, and Peyton suffering horrific burns. While in the hospital, some new medical treatments are tried on Peyton, transforming his personality and giving him some enhanced capabilities. He escapes the hospital, thirsty for revenge, and for another chance to visit his fiancée, Julie. He uses whatever devices escaped from the fire on his lab, to devise a way to create masks, and start his revenge plans.
"Darkman" is at its core an homage to the monster films from Universal Studios of the 1930s, but also a comic book movie in style and concept. The hero is substantially darker than the typical Marvel or DC cannon, there's an almost sadistic pleasure in him in inflicting pain on those who disfigured him, but the hero/anti-hero is someone who nonetheless wants to protect his loved one and have a normal life. The film exhibits the traits which defined the early career of Sam Raimi, namely the kinetic editing, and brief character definition, both of which exist to propel the action forward, while giving just enough insight into characters motivations and plot dynamics. Though stunted in terms of character depth, it's nonetheless a film punctuated by a good performance from the always reliable Liam Neeson (before his breakout role with Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List") and the always fantastic Frances McDormand, taking a rather thankless role, as the somewhat passive love interest. The cinematography from Bill Pope is great, as is the score of the always excellent Danny Elfman, who in 1990 alone had additional scores for Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands", Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" and Clive Barker's "Nightbreed". Enjoyable and somewhat forgettable.