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Review: The Dark Tower

Roslyn Hull

A war that has gone on forever between gunslingers and the minions of the Man in Black has entered our world as earthquakes and the disturbed dreams of one boy.

Will he be able to work with the last gunslinger left to prevent the destruction of the tower, both worlds and the whole universe?

I accept that the synopsis I’ve written above may be cheesy but even this is better than what is on IMDb. Which doesn’t bode well. Add to that the fact that there is a different tagline attached for every country it screens in and a chunky studio spend on reshoots after a bad test screening … and we would be expecting the worst, wouldn’t we?

We would be wrong.

The story is based on a series of books by Stephen King, which exist in the same universe as several others by the same author, … and some of the plots leak into one another. So that should be enough to scare us all off then.

No, it shouldn’t.

Do you need to have read the books? No, you don’t.

I’ve only read the first – when I was a stay-at-home mum and was so confused I didn’t read anymore. Admittedly I think of those years as the ones where I substituted brain cells for baby cereal as I was so sleep deprived and permanently exhausted, so I may give them another go…some day. So when I tell you the plot was easy to follow and thoroughly watchable, you know I mean it. The film isn’t actually part of the book series anyway, it is set post-novel series and will be the start of a TV series, according to Wikipedia.

Don’t be afraid of all the ways this film shouldn’t work and just relax into it. Let the excellent characters created by Idris (sigh) Elba and Matthew McConaughey take you on a quest with less walking and more gunplay than any Tolkien. This is not sci fi, it sits more readily in the fantasy genre but ‘real world’ based fantasy.

There are demons and freaky people aplenty but there is also a familiarity. The other world, where the tower is, looks like ours yet alien. The way vampires and other dark types are depicted in a lot less romantic than recent trends. The two demons who attack the boy look and act like I imagined demons written by Stephen King would look and act. The one made of floorboards is especially well done and thankfully brief.

The relationship between the boy and the man is rich and I can see it easily continuing through other films or shows. Matthew McConaughey’s villain is thoughtlessly cruel and so sinisterly elegant too.

The locations are used well, the different colour palettes lend atmosphere and the legendary quality of the storytelling gives the whole production a resonance and a richness I appreciated.

A choc-top worthy trip to the cinema.

Roslyn saw this film as a guest of Limelight Cinemas Tuggeranong.

Feature image: facebook.com/pg/TheDarkTower

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Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author

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