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Dark Water
2005 - PG-13 - 105 Mins.
Director: Walter Salles
Producer: Bill Mechanic
Written By: Rafael Yglesias
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Pete Postlethwaite
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: darkwater.movies.go.com/
   

Look at all the H20 on display
The New York Tourism Board is likely to be ticked off right about now. As if they didn't have enough trouble in the aftermath of 9/11, films routinely depict the city as a constantly raining dump of a metropolis. 'Dark Water' is just the latest in a long line of films to do so.

Director Walter Salles ('The Motorcycle Diaries') films the city as a place where it rains 24 hours a day, seven days a week. His film tells the story of Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) and her daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade). They have been looking for a place to live for a while now as Dahlia goes through the laborious divorce proceedings from her soon to be ex-husband (Dougray Scott). She thinks they may have finally found just the place. After being given a tour by the smarmy apartment attendant (John C. Reilly), she agrees to put down the required deposit right away. Soon after moving in, she discovers an ominous leak that continues to grow in size. Said leak turns out to be just the beginning as a mystery develops involving Dahlia's past, the apartment complex's water tower, and apartment 10F.

Screenwriter Rafael Yglesias (2001's 'From Hell') should thank his lucky stars. Why? Well, his 'Dark Water' screenplay is anything but stellar. Full of loose ends and plot threads that literally go nowhere and a multitude of half-developed characters, by all accounts the resulting film should have been a mess. It is only through the sheer talent of director Salles and a phenomenal cast that the film is not only watchable, but can be recommended.

Salles lends the film a sense of foreboding despair from the get-go and when the tension is eventually amped-up, one's nerves near the point of being fried. The water in the film isn't the only thing dripping as the film is literally dripping with atmosphere. He is occasionally let down by the aforementioned shortfalls attributed to the screenplay but it isn't long before one is again sitting on the edge of their seat.

The film's more than able cast also bring the material above water (bad joke, I know). In the lead, Jennifer Connelly again shows why she is one the best actors working right now and why she is an Academy Award winner. She lends gravitas and screen presence to burn to the proceedings; one can't keep one's eyes off her she is a stunningly riveting actor to watch. As her daughter, relative newcomer Ariel Gade is a find with a performance devoid of the usual annoying precociousness often seen in the performances of children. Supporting turns by the likes of John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite, and Tim Roth (as Connelly's quirky divorce attorney) are also above par with all three obviously enjoying themselves and bringing that enjoyment to the screen in spades, making for an entertaining filmic experience.

Feel free to swim in this 'Water.'
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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