It was actually an above par thriller/mystery film. I don’t want to give too much away but I highly encourage anyone who enjoyed Gone Girl to watch this film. The author Gillian Flynn shows her intelligence and depth with such a divergence from Gone Girl but with a great cast of shockingly believable characters and situations. I expected Dark Places to be poorly acted but it was perfect from start to finish. I felt bad for Libbe and especially a few of the other characters after the shocking twist. I had expected a generic twist ending but I was pleasantly surprised. The film hits you twice – perhaps three times for people who have never seen mystery thrillers before and it’s enjoyable from start to finish. The ending of the film, while it may seem hopeful to some, just seemed bitter to me. The entire family never really knew each other and never would know each other. There was virtually no point in trying to reconcile anything from their terrible past. It shows a sad aspect of life often ignored by Hollywood nonsense; people will simply move on – if not immediately then eventually. The past is just the past.
Ben’s character seems the strongest and deepest among them. He made a choice that truly displayed his character – confused, angry, and intelligent. His mother seemed the most predictable, especially after she found what he was hiding and misunderstood its meaning. Libbe lost everything and seemed to shut herself off from the world from then on. She attempted to seem stoic but she really seemed the emptiest out of all the characters. No hope for a future, no prospects, and chasing after the emptiness of the world. It was truly a tragic experience, but I’m sure the audience was also supposed to realize how pathetic she was as a person. It seems deeply offensive to say, yet the depiction does make the viewer question such notions after her absence from the world for 30 years and mooching off the tragedy of her life since then. What does she really have? What has she really accomplished? Is she any different from her mother? Or, perhaps even more shamefully, is she any different from her father? For all intents and purposes, she’s just a slightly wealthier version of her father…
Overall, a great film and Ben seems like one of the better characters created in Hollywood films.
2020 Update: I should have mentioned, the reason this film probably didn’t do so well nor was promoted as much was likely due to the absolutely disgusting portrayal of Native American faiths. The author, director, or story writer of the film seemed to think Native American religions were just their own caricatures of devil worship. If you respect traditional Native American faiths, culture, or heritage then this has some scenes that can be considered asinine and ignorant.