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Dark Days (2000)

Cast: Marc Singer
Director: Marc Singer, Marc Singer
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues
Running Time: 84 min.
    see additional details...

Synopsis
Novice filmmaker Marc Singer lived in the bowels of a midtown Manhattan railway station for two years to shoot this harrowing account of the day-to-day existence of the homeless. Shot in noirish black and white, Singer shows how society's discarded and disenfranchised fashion a community of sorts in the sunless labyrinth of the station's transit tunnels. Though told without narration, a dozen or so individual stories emerge. Dee (the sole woman depicted in the film) lost all her children in a house fire while she was high on crack; Ralph remains inconsolable after his five-year old's rape and mutilation during a stint in prison. In the final reel, Amtrak sends in armed police to clean out the tunnels, citing health concerns. However, the subterranean tenets happen upon a stroke of luck, as an NYC social worker discovers a cache of previously unclaimed public housing. Featuring a sparse soundtrack by DJ Shadow, Dark Days won the Grand Jury prize for cinematography, the Freedom of Expression award, and an audience award at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Jupiter's Wife
Along with Dark Days, one of the best docs about the homeless ever made; mesmerizing

The Charcoal People
Sad doc about migrant workers in Brazil

New York
See how the subway tunnels were built in Ken Burns' riveting series on the history of NYC


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GreenCine Member Reviews

Incredible coverage by jmaclean June 27, 2005 - 9:47 AM PDT
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4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
An amazing look at a culture I would never have known anything about. I really like that the filmmaker doesn't romanticize the subjects. He got amazing access and did an excellent job of telling a story with a point of view without bashing you over the head with it. Also, the black and white is extremely effective. Good recommendation for all the doc junkies!

Compelling people, great score by mccoy May 27, 2004 - 11:22 AM PDT
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2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Saw this in the theaters and it was a knockout. An amazing in-the-trenches look at how these folks eke out an alternate existence underneath the big city. And the DJ Shadow score is phenomenal.

Interesting content but awkward presentation by nate April 28, 2004 - 8:35 AM PDT
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2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
The DJ Shadow soundtrack was a highlight, but my primary impression after finishing it (which took several sittings) was of a grainy black-and-white art film, mumbled interviews with drug addicts, and lots of shots of rats scurrying on the tracks. Then I watched the "Making of" extra, and I felt much better about the whole thing. Black-and-white? Because it was the first film he'd every shot and he was afraid he'd get the colors wrong. Bad audio? What do you expect, it was shot in a tunnel...

So I'm of two minds: the content is interesting, but because of the production I didn't find it a pleasureable film to watch. For a first film, it's probably fantastic, but I found that the artistic efforts/defects got in the way of the subject matter. Probably worth watching, but I wouldn't invite your impatient friends over. And if you do get bogged down in the middle, switch over to the "Making Of" extra, and see if your interest in the film is renewed.

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GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.56)
376 Votes
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