Thursday, August 6, 2015

The dud called 'Dark Places'

Like Gone Girl, Dark Places is an adaptation of a novel by Gillian Flynn. But unlike Gone Girl -- no masterpiece, either -- this one has little to recommend it. Charlize Theron pulls a baseball cap over her beauty to play Libby Day, an emotionally bottled, blue-collar woman. Libby's distinction: As a child, she witnessed the murder of her mother and sister. An eight-year-old at the time of the crime, Libby told police that her troubled brother (Tye Sheridan) committed the crime. Sheridan's Ben Day has been in the slammer ever since. When a nerd who studies murders (Nicholas Hoult) shows up, Libby is dragged into the past -- presented in uninspired flashbacks by French director Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Corey Stoll plays Libby's imprisoned brother in the present. We also get a turn from Chloe Grace Moretz as the grown-up version of a young woman who Libby's brother fell for when he was a teen-ager flirting with devil worship. The performances are mostly drab, as is the movie's look, and the wrap-up is as preposterous as it is unilluminating. Dark Places has had a VOD run, which is how I saw it. It now reaches theaters.

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