Gothic horror comedy Dark Shadows is clearly not a film for the chutiyas aka Indians of any stripes.
But blessed with a Catholic disposition yours truly can digest anything you throw on the screen.
Comic, tragic, romantic, and even, gothic.
Anything but the pathetic, bring it on baby.
Finding myself at a loose end today and not withstanding the mostly ‘rotten’ reviews the film has garnered, I cast off the Black Dog and hauled my Sybilian decrepit selves to the new Johnny Depp film Dark Shadows.
Anyways, Dark Shadows can’t be worse than the putrid stuff Bollywood foists upon me every week.
Plus, Dark Shadows comes with the bonus of three Hollywood actors I like – Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Classy movie buffs (like me) love classy actors.
At least, so went my reasoning as I stepped out into the hot mid-Atlantic afternoon.
Dark Shadows is what, given my Indian antecedents, I’d consider a chalta hai kind of movie.
Not good, not bad but it’ll do.
Me never got high like I did the other night after watching the Chinese film Ocean Heaven (Jet Li) nor did I fall in the deep end of the despair pool that Bollywood invariably pushes me into.
As most baby boomers in Amreeka would know, Dark Shadows is based on the late 60s eponymous TV series.
Apparently the TV series was popular in its time and over the years amassed many notable fans including this film’s director Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Madonna and Quentin Tarantino.
Hell Hath No Fury ….1776 Meets 1972
The movie starts off in 18th century Liverpool and quickly shifts to Amreeka where the Collins family has moved, like so many immigrants before and since, seeking fortune and fame in the New World.
Things go swimmingly well for the family that settles by the sea-side in Maine. Soon a city has grown there named Collinsport, after the Collin family.
All izz well until young Barnabas Collins (who else, but Johnny Depp) falls foul of a beautiful young maiden Angelique Bouchard when he spurns her love.
Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman.
And greater the wrath you invite when the scorned woman Angelique also happens to be a witch practicing sorcery of the diabolique kind.
Soon enough Barnabas’ parents are murdered, his lover Josette forced off the cliff and our fine strapping young man turned into a vampire, chained and buried in a tight iron box where he lies for nearly 200 years.
All the fiendish work of the vengeful Angelique, her spells and her curses.
Until some 20th century construction workers stumble upon the metal casket, open it and quickly meet a gory end.
Where do you think our Barnabas, blissfully unaware that two centuries has passed by, goes next?
Of course, to his home.
Only to find his beloved Collinwood in utter disrepair and the current residents Elizabeth Collins (the ever-charming Michelle Pfeiffer), her rebellious daughter Caroline (lovely Chloë Grace Moretz) et al in straitened circumstances.
But if Barnabas is back from the past promising to restore Collinwood to its former glory, can Angelique and Josette be far behind.
Soon, it seems like 1776 redux.
Will Angelique triumph again, can Barnabas withstand her overtures and her wicked sorcery, does the love of Victoria Winters (Josette in a new avatar) win this time or is it the cliff all over again?
Michelle Pfeiffer oozes class and age has not diminished her beauty nor the spell she casts over besotted fans like me.
As is his wont, Johnny Depp does a good job. But he didn’t put me under a spell in Dark Shadows.
That the French actress Eva Gaëlle Green easily did, making me swoon under her spell.
Eva Green is a superb choice for Angelique.
This woman can emote, and so diabolically well. I for one would love to see more of Eva Green.
The little English dynamo of talent Helena Bonham Carter is superb as the psychiatrist. I can’t visualize a role that Helena Bonham Carter won’t excel in.
Bet she’d bring a completely new dimension to even James Bond. Any takers for this comedy?
The dialogs sparkle occasionally.
I found the photography more than a tad disappointing. Was this the same Bruno Delbonnel that filmed Amélie (2001).
Besides the ho-hum photography, Dark Shadows fails to hit the high notes on the narrative side as well. Just not gripping enough to keep me engaged.
Of course, I wouldn’t dream of telling all ye chutiyas to watch Dark Shadows.
Because it just ain’t your cup of movie chai.