“Dark Tourist,” directed by Suri Krishnamma is a viscerally uncomfortable film that appears to be a gritty, dirt coated attempt to make a film in the traditions of “Taxi Driver” and “Midnight Cowboy.” The dialogue occasionally borders on forced, the subtext is overstated and where the movie tries to be profound, it leaves you walking away feeling like you just picked up a handful of sticky slime from a bannister in a dark tunnel. This movie may very well exemplify the line between breaking new ground and going where no one has gone before versus losing direction and going where no one has ever wanted to go before.
The film is languidly drawn out and perhaps more than slightly self-indulgent. The plotline is not too difficult to follow, but the movie is byzantine and convoluted with respect to plot-related details and character exposition; it just seems like the writer did not distinguish between what parts should be implicit and which ones should be explicit. Dark Tourist is a movie that would be inappropriate to watch with a date, uncomfortable to watch with friends and pretty sad for people to watch by themselves.
It is the goal of every director to create at the very least, a film in which the viewer may suspend their disbelief. Krishanamma does not achieve this goal. The spectator is left with far too many questions and by the time they may acquire some vague understanding of just the simple status quo, the movie has dragged itself out more than half way.
Some movies are ideal to pull someone out of a bad mood, some are lighthearted enough to watch in a good mood, some are dark, but so well done that they can pull the viewer into it in a way that appears entirely effortless. This last is what an ideal thriller should do. This has worked before films were colorized and continued to work in many cinematic endeavors, whether “Terminator 2” or “The Silence of the Lambs.” What enthralls the person who buys a ticket is either the masterful craft perfected by Hopkins to formulate a charismatic, but sinister character with an almost supernatural presence or the sheer intensity of precisely timed explosions and battles against an unbeatable machine.
“Dark Tourist” has little, if any redemption. It is more awkward than real life, none of the characters earn the empathy of the audience and shooting in dark corners ends up becoming a substitute for good cinematography. For some perspective, one might take an apples vs. oranges comparison; “Clerks” was made by director Kevin Smith for 30,000 dollars, it was revolutionary, unique and solid. “Dark Tourist” was a film with a four million dollar budget, which is really infuriating for anyone who has actually seen the film.
This film lacked any forward thrust and all parts that may have actually gone somewhere through some creative transition, were made to be stunted and fell completely flat. Perhaps the best thing to come out of this strange project was yet another proof against the ubiquitous theory that throwing money at a project will lead to success in place of true thought and effort.