Some helpful suggestions about 'Dark Harbor'
J. Fryer | Nicholasville, KY | 05/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a dark, psychologically-driven film which draws you in, keeps you thinking, offers delicious twists, subtle hints, and surprising secrets, and is never what it seems, not even when you think you know all there is to know.The plot has been well outlined in most of these reviews; sometimes perfectly, sometimes with too much information, and a few times by reviewers who apparently didn't even watch the complete film. Rather than rehashing the plot this review offers simple and hopefully clarifying suggestions.If you are an Alan Rickman film, do not hesitate; BUY this DVD! Forget about worrying about his accent, savor looking forward to his nude scenes, but do NOT skip to the end of the movie to view them. You gamble on missing too much of Rickman's spellbinding performance if you skip even one minute of this small, but very effective film. Previous viewers who saw the movie on VHS will be enlightened by watching it again on DVD. I have been a movie fan for more years than I want to say, but have now discovered that the nuances of many films have sometimes escaped me totally over those decades. If ever there was something to be learned from a commentary this is the film to prove it (along with 'South of Heaven, West of Hell'). Not that the film itself needs to be explained, but the element of how a director presents of a film; the mood attained by the camera angles, the symbols included in every scene, the intricate details of the shooting of the movie, the input of the actors (particularly one as great as Alan Rickman) into their roles, the subtle nuances of looks, glances, and plot building all lend a deeper understanding and enjoyment of 'Dark Harbor'. The wealth of this information provided by director Adam Coleman Howard makes viewing this film only on VHS almost like not watching the same film. On no other commentary I have seen has the director stuck so directly to the point; which is to give his very detailed insights, his specific direction reasoning, the information upon which he draw, the always educational tutorage on the problems of film-making such as the weather, the seasons, the locale, etc., and the final solutions, and basic reasoning used to determine just what we see woven into the finished film. For fans of films seeking entertainment, the information on this commentary add layers of pleasure. For students seeking knowledge concerning construction of a film, the director's comments are to the point, succinct, and very detailed. This DVD would vastly add to your education. There is a problem with renting versus owning the DVD. You will want to watch the film at least three times for true understanding; first for the initial unveiling of the plot, then the film with the commentary, and the third time with the more heightened awareness you will garner from the director's inside information. Then, for lovers of Alan Rickman, you will want to watch the work of this brilliant actor again and again well past the three-time mark because he offers to his craft a level of skill that leaves one in awe.If you were introduced to Alan through 'Sense and Sensibility' (while 'Dark Harbor' certainly does not fall into the same category by the stretch of anyone's imagination) and wanted to see more of the actor and his fine work, you owe it to yourself to take the dive, enter the fog, and buy this DVD. Rickman reveals facets of his skill that are only glimpsed in 'Sense and Sensibility'. This is a two-way street, if you saw 'Dark Harbor' and were impressed with Rickman's talent, to see his performance in 'S&S' will add greatly to your admiration. If you are interested enough to read reviews of this film, but are on the fence about 'should I purchase this DVD' or 'can I pass on this one' maybe one of these suggestions will help you make the decision. More to the point, hopefully you will make the right decision and decide to 'purchase' this intriguing, rich film and enjoy all it has to offer, which is considerable."
Three characters trapped on an island
Gemma Niermann | Walnut Creek, CA United States | 05/18/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dark Harbor features Alan Rickman as David Weinberg, Polly Walker as Alexis Chandler-Weinberg, and Norman Reedus as the Young Man.
I hate "reviews" that are nothing more than plot synopses, especially those that give away surprise endings or get the facts mangled, so I'll try to avoid that trap. Dark Harbor is a claustrophobic film about a stifling marriage and what happens when a drifter gets drawn into the story. Alan Rickman is multi-layered and superb, as usual, in the role of the frustrated husband. Polly Walker brings a nice mix of edginess and innocence to the young wife. But Norman Reedus does not do a thing for me as the drifter; he's a skanky cypher, and I can't imagine anyone risking it all to connect with this character.
That said, the film does an effective build of tension among the threesome, with some ambiguous scenes and dialogue. A highlight of the movie is the little speech about love that Rickman's character delivers near the end of the story. Another highlight, also near the end, is when Rickman's character strips naked and goes skinny dipping in the harbor. Not many actors are that brave, especially ones over 50.
This film is a must for Rickman fans, and a "maybe" for all others."
Power of Subtle Suggestion
Venida Hylton | Cleveland, Ohio | 04/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stormy weather, mist and fog are ideal backdrops to the subtlestories so intricately interwoven in the adult drama, Dark Harbor.David and Alexis Weinberg, a wealthy couple from Boston, are hurrying to catch a ferry to their private island when they find a beaten young man on the side of the road. At the insistance of his wife, Weinberg agrees to help the man, beginning what would become a chain of passion, betrayal and murder that will keep you guessing from beginning to end!"Dark Harbor" is filled with twists and subplots reminiscent of Hitchcock; the darkness of hidden truths and realities behind the veil of the Weinberg's marriage, will leave you breathless.The plot has a powerful premise, but grows thin at times and I wondered just what was left on the cutting room floor that would have strengthened it ; perhaps more information about David and the boy would have satisifed me. Powerful performances by three exciting actors made up for some of those weakness.Alan Rickman exposes a range of powerful emotions that will delight fans who wished to see him break out of sugary or manic roles. His after dinner speech with the boy is mesmerizingly tender, and deservedly earns him the title, "The Voice", while Norman Reedus is a force to be reckoned with, clearly focused on getting what he wants in the end. Polly Walker is strangely touching as the wife without a clue of the poison brewing within herself, her husband, and the man they're both attracted and repelled by.The final ten minutes of the movie is both powerful and, to some, disturbing. But if you watch "Dark Harbor" with an open mind, you, too, will have to wonder what you would or wouldn't do for love. END"
One of Alan Rickman's best
alaska | New York, NY USA | 05/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"More than many films, Dark Harbor bears repeated viewing -- it's after you know the ending that you can more fully appreciate the brilliance of Alan Rickman's multilayered performance, the apotheosis of his trademark blend of camp and subtlety. There's much else to recommend this intelligent and well-made film, of course, including very strong performances from the other two principal actors. Allegiances shift, clues to an unconventional mystery are scattered about like chips in a high-stakes poker game, and it is only in the final scenes that we see the cards the players are holding, and the chips stacked neatly on the table. The DVD edition includes a director's commentary that enhances the film's nuances."