Follow Charlize Theron Into Dark Places


After the critical success of last year’s Gone Girl, it’s no surprise that another cinematic adaptation of a Gillian Flynn book would eventually soon arrive in theaters. Here’s the synopsis of Dark Places:

25 years after testifying against her brother as the person responsible for massacring her entire family, a haunted woman (Charlize Theron) is approached by a secret society that specializes in complex, unsolved cases.

The novel Dark Places is, as its title suggests, considerably darker than Gone Girl in a lot of ways. For one thing, there are far more characters. In addition, these characters are possibly even more unlikable than the ones in Gone Girl, while at the same time also being more sympathetic. The book also has a lot more twists and turns than Gone Girl, which likely proved to be a challenge to convey on screen.

The movie Dark Places was released on April 8 in France, which makes sense because the writer and director, Gilles Paquet-Brenner, is French. Over the last few years, Paquet-Brenner has directed mysteries, dramas, and thrillers, all of which should well qualify him to helm an adaptation of Dark Places. He’s also got some action and comedy on his resume, which might sound like he’s out of his element, but there are plenty of suspenseful action scenes in Flynn’s book, not to mention more than a few lines of dialogue that made me laugh out loud.

A trailer was released earlier in the year, but now there is a new trailer with a slightly different tone as well as different music, not to mention fewer characters than the first one.

As someone who has read the book, both trailers have their merits and flaws. While the first trailer has far more spoilers than the new one, it gives a better overview of what the plot is actually about. The new trailer only has a couple of brief visual spoilers, but nothing that would ruin the big surprises for those who haven’t yet read the book.

There have been more than a few fans of the book complaining about the casting, and it’s true: Charlize Theron looks nothing like the Libby Day character as described in the book. This is how Hollywood works, though, and it’s somewhat doubtful that a film like Dark Places would have been able to get any sort of wide release with less conventionally attractive actors; the movie also features Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult, and Chloe Grace Moretz.

If you have DirectTV, you can watch Dark Places right now. If you are planning on attending the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal next month, you might catch a screening of it there. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until August 7, when Dark Places will be released in US theaters.

The good news is that there’s still plenty of time to read the novel by then, and you should, because it’s quite excellent and remarkably poignant for such a gruesome piece of work.

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