A Fantasy Film
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
A Fantasy Film
New Orleans in 1930's is the setting of "Dark Streets". Chaz Davenport (Gabriel Mann) has a big heart and he used it to help open up a new nightclub. The Tower. However things are not going to well. There are lots of bills and the dancers are fighting. To make it even worse, Chaz's late father Arthur disinherited him and the company lawyer was killed in an automobile accident.
A cop, "the Lieutenant" (Elias Koteas), introduces Chaz to Madelaine. Because she can sing, the other dancers at the club become a tad upset and Chaz gets rid of his lead singer, Crystal (Bijou Philips). Things get even darker when Darlene, another of Chaz's dancers is killed in an alley behind the club and the bathroom attendant's throat is slit. Suddenly the atmosphere changes drastically.
Everyone in the film save Chaz has a hidden agenda. Chaz turns to his uncle for help and things get even weirder and that is all I can say about the plot.
The director, Rachel Samuels gives us a look at the world of the 30's and her characters are both fascinating and diverse. This is an exceptionally dark film and it is photographed that way. There is a lot of atmosphere but not much going on. It is a film noir musical that offers a visual feast along with fine acting. There is a lot of music and the plot seems to fall into the backdrop as music comes forward. It is not so much a narrative but more of a musical exercise in the blues.
A Bluesy Slice Of Neo-Film Noir
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 09/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Admittedly it is tough, very tough to make a modern film noir in color that gives that gritty feel of something like Bogart and Bacall in the 1940s classic age of film noir in the "Big Sleep". And this small film doesn't try to do that. However, its does have a very bluesy feel to it as advertised. The plot line is a familiar one of a good guy (here in the guise of a debt-ridden nightclub owner dealing with his father's mysterious death) of greed , intrigue and treachery, in this case involving the nefarious doings of covering up a crime in the process of cornering the electric market of an obviously corrupt and wide open city (and state). The dialogue is also somewhat stilted. One would think that such a combination calls for a thumbs down. Not so. Why? Go back to that bluesy feel. From the two fetching femme fatale torch singers who vie for said night club owner's attentions, to the chorus girls doing, well doing their thing, to the black dancer/singer/narrator who holds the whole thing together (and puts on amazing Michael Jackson-like song and dance performances to boot). And here's the topper- a sound track with the likes of Etta James and Doctor John in the back. My friends, this is a no-brainer in these quarters.
The Picture on the DVD Jacket is the Best Thing About This F
R. Schultz | Chicago | 01/08/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film is like being cast back into the smoke and arty obscurantism of an open-mike poetry reading in the hippie 1960's. Actually, the action is supposedly set in a sort of mythical 1930's. The narrator of the film is a "blues man" who doubles as an announcer/acrobat at a New Orleans nightclub. He tries to draw us into the smoke rings with labored profundities about life and the blues.
But it's all just too much pretentiousness and strained portentousness. In his basso bourbon voice, the narrator does deliver one or two telling lines, such as "They say the meek inherit the earth. But usually, they just end up under the earth." For the most part though, his utterances are labored reaches after philosophical, dramatic import.
There is no believable plot here - actually no plot at all other than some broad comic-book strokes. There are ruthless villains who seek to control the City by controlling the electrical power supply. There are slinky chanteuses. You have to hope the style will become the story. But since the film is shot through such heavy filters and consequently is so dark and murky that it's hard to see anything on the screen, even the style usually gets lost.
The DVD jacket vaunts the movie for its music - for the blues singers featured on it, such as Etta James. But if you want music, get just the music. Why wade through this pretense of a plot to get there?"