Dark Review

Dark is a German tv show centered around a small rural German town that has been shaped through the ages by time travel. It recently concluded, and all three seasons are on Netflix. The best way I can describe this show is Stranger Things meets Back to the Future. Dark has an incredibly complex web of characters who over the years have interacted with each other. And since the show takes place over about 100 years, the audience gets to see the same characters throughout their entire lives. However, this complexity also comes at a price, as I found myself constantly having to look up who everyone in the show was in order to make sense of the whole thing.

Dark takes place in Winden, a quiet, sleepy, rural German forest town. However, children are beginning to go missing. After his father’s suicide, Jonas Kahnwald begins to investigate, and soon discovers Winden hides some incredibly sinister secrets.

Dark has one of the most complex time travel plots I’ve ever seen. This show rivals even Primer in that aspect. It shows how four families have interacted with each other for almost a century, and how certain members have travelled in time. This can vary in complexity and shock factor from a simple lesbian affair in the 50s to a person’s girlfriend being their aunt and her brother being their time traveling father. The main antagonist and main protagonist are technically the same person, just one is from the future. This show pulls quite a bit of twists, and it’s really quite entertaining to watch. Additionally, the acting is really fantastic all around, despite being in German.

However, Dark’s complexity is a bit of a double edged sword. While the twists and reveals leave you stunned, due to the sheer amount of characters, it’s very hard to keep track of just what the heck is going on sometimes. The audience has to remember generations of characters, characters who are seen at multiple ages in their life, alternative versions of those characters from another dimension, AND those same characters but older and evil. Frankly, it’s somewhat exhausting, and I feel they could’ve maybe not had as many characters as they did.

Overall, Dark is a weird, wacky, intense tv show, and I loved it. While I didn’t understand what was going on at every single moment, I understood enough to follow. It absolutely merits a watch. Additionally, on a side note this show has I think the most haunting intro ever. Simply watching that alone might leave you hooked.

Another Round Review

Another Round is a 2020 Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen. It’s a unique take on a midlife crisis, and it follows four teachers who decide to try and keep their blood alcohol content above .5% at all times, in order to prove a hypothesis by a philosopher. This movie has some excellent acting and presentation all around, and I hope it introduces Danish cinema to American audiences.

Another Round follows Martin, a Danish history teacher going through a loveless marriage, and a boring life. After a night of drinking with some friends, they all decide to try and keep their BAC level above .5% at all times. After a while, it starts to affect their life in both positive and negative ways.

This movie has a very interesting effect on the audience. In most films, we as viewers laugh at the actors, and the comedy happening onscreen. In Another Round, I found myself laughing with the characters. By using intense closeup shots of character’s faces, the audience feels as though they are almost part of the onscreen action. I’m sure not all viewers will experience this, but I definitely did. Additionally, the acting is absolutely phenomenal in this movie, universally. Not one actor is weak, and this movie also benefits greatly from the talented Mads Mikkelsen. Also, the presentation is excellent. Rather than shove information at the audience, this movie is very minimalistic. If a character dies, they show an empty boat. If there’s an affair, they simply mention they have to work late. It feels realistic and somewhat uncomfortable, which fits in it’s theme of mid life crisis.

Sadly however, this minimalistic presentation isn’t all positive. Because this movie  gives so little, it also muddled it’s own theme through ambiguity. Simply put, more so than others, this film is different for every person. The themes are extremely subjective, and there isn’t one concrete central message. Consequently, the film can feel at times, a little hollow.

Another Round is really a great film, even if some design choices hinder it. I’m confident this will win some awards and I hope this movie convinces some conservatives to expand their mind to foreign films.