Shadow
Dark Glasses

Dark Glasses

Synopsis:
Diana, a young woman who lost her sight, finds a guide in a Chinese boy named Chin. Together they will track down a dangerous killer through the darkness of Italy.

An orphaned Chinese boy guides a blind prostitute to track a serial killer in . Diana () is a prostitute blinded in a car accident while being pursued by a serial killer who has been targeting call girls in Rome. Collateral damage in the accident is a young Chinese boy named Chin (), whose parents were killed. Chin decides he wants to say with Diana instead of going to social services. Still, when the killer returns to finish what he started, the two go to hide at the house of Rita (), the social worker helping Diana adjust to her blindness.

Dark Glasses is the first film written and directed by Dario Argento in a decade, returning to the Giallo genre Argento made his name with during the 1970s and 1980s. The film introduces the protagonist of Diana, as she puts on a titular pair of dark glasses to watch a solar eclipse. The film proceeds to kick off in high gear with an excellently executed credits sequence and opening kill, accompanied by the techno-laden theme by Arnaud Rebotini. Diana soon becomes the target of this prostitute-killing serial killer. She will have to cope with both losing her sight during an attack and being culpable for the death of the parents of the Chinese boy Chin, who becomes a visual guide for Diana.

Dark Glasses marks the second time over the last 15 years that Dario Argento tried to return to his Giallo roots. The previous attempt was his poorly received 2009 film, titled Giallo. Dark Glasses seems to be hitting all the right notes in the film's first ten minutes, which features an incredibly gory opening kill, featuring the typical Giallo trope of a faceless killer wearing black leather gloves. However, while Dark Glasses is still relatively solid, the bulk of the film is not as satisfying as the opening scene.

There is also the question about whether or not Dario Argento is playing up to stereotypes of the blind with his depiction of the protagonist Diana, particularly the fact that she chooses to wear dark sunglasses. It is almost like Argento is fetishizing Diana for being blind, particularly since he has her wearing dark glasses in early scenes before she is even blinded in the attack.

At the very least, Argento should be praised for casting relatively unknown Italian actress Ilenia Pastorelli as Diana instead of continuing the two decades of nepotism of always casting his daughter Asia Argento. The latter still has a sizeable supporting role in Dark Glasses as Diana's support worker Rita.

When it is all said and done, while it might be too much to say that Dark Glasses is a full-on return to form for Dario Argento, it is probably still a better film than most of what he has made in the last two decades. If this ends up being the last hurrah for one of the all-time masters of horror, at the very least, it is not an embarrassment.

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Trailer for Dark Glasses

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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