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THE PASSION OF DARKLY NOON, 1995
Movie Review

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THE PASSION OF DARKLY NOON, 1995
Classic Movie Review
Directed by Philip Ridley
Starring Brendan Fraser, Ashley Judd and Viggo Mortensen
Review by Russell Hill



SYNOPSIS:

The survivor of a horrific murder stumbles upon the kindness of a young couple who nurses him back to health. However, they are soon repaid in the most horrific way possible.

REVIEW:

Continuously overlooked by many, THE PASSION OF DARKLY NOON is one of the best movies that the cast have been apart of. Its use of a great script and sublime direction accumulates towards creating a film that shouldnít be watched too many times with the lights switched off.

Darkly Noon (Fraser) escapes from the hands of a murderous mob one sunny morning. The locals of the nearby town didnít like the cult Darkly and his family were involved with, and decided to murder them. He escapes, but his parents werenít quite so lucky. Literally on his last legs, he is discovered lying in the road by a passer by who drives Darkly to a nearby house. Occupied by Callie (Judd) and her lover Clay (Mortensen), they soon nurse him back to health and become friends. Despite this rare act of human kindness, Darkly rebels against Callieís and Clayís sexual relationship.

Raised a strict Christian, Darkly sees sex outside of marriage as a sin. Instead of turning the other cheek, Darkly takes it upon himself to act as judge and executioner on these kind individuals. Some could say he even goes crazy. Years of living in the cult have obviously left Darkly with cabin fever, and slowly he starts to lose his mind. Darkly cannot see past his

own beliefs to see how others might choose to lead their own lives. Big mistake. Befriending the crazy person of the forest Darkly is told that Callie is a witch. To any sane person, they would dismiss this. But Darkly is no sane person. He even starts to talk to his deceased parents, who act simply as his subconscious to tell him that Callie must be destroyed. The ending I will not give away, but it sure is a sight to see and a classic scene up there with the best of them.

During the past few years, Brendan Fraser has been involved in some quite marvellous movies. THE MUMMY trilogy was a joy to watch and BLAST FROM THE PAST demonstrated Fraserís ability to be involved with Hollywood A-Listers such as Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek and Alicia Silverstone. Before seeing this movie, it never occurred to me how strange and surreal Fraserís face can be. His bland facial reactions act as a very creepy reminder that what lies below Darkly is not a level-headed person. Fraserís muscle-bound stature seems to tower over his fellow cast members. Even Mortensen, who has the frame of a twelve-year old girl, is easily beaten in strength in many scenes. His performance is that good you could easily compare it to Norman Bates in PSYCHO, or Jack Torrence in THE SHINING.But Fraser isnít the only person who shines here. Mortensen is quite the revelation as well. Although he has no dialogue throughout as Clay is a mute, his silent actions are evidence that this actor is not one who doesnít need lines to act the role of his career. To a lesser-talented actor, this restriction might have resulted in a poor performance but does not. The same could apply to Judd. Her bleach-blonde look might have been simply to act as a prick-tease and someone not offering anything of value to the art of acting, but instead she does not. Yes, there are a number of scenes where she is shot in a number of provocative poses, but the standard of her acting is of the highest quality. In the films concluding scene, her talent is tested in the limit as a wide range of emotions are delivered with such success that could better even the likes of Betty Davis.

Not shown much on television here in Great Britain, THE PASSION OF DARKLY NOON is a classic movie yet to be discovered by many. The acting by Fraser, Judd and Mortensen is of the highest quality; a quality that is sometimes lacking in contemporary Hollywood movies. Suitable only for those aged eighteen and over.

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