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« Review: "Free Fire" | Main | Tribeca 2017: Hounds of Love »

Tribeca 2017: Super Dark Times

by Jason Adams

There was this boy named Donnie that was a year below me in High School that I was in love with in that way teenagers are always in love with impossible things. He was a wrestler in the mold of the an Apollo statue, and he was correspondingly popular – even though he was a year younger than me he hung out with the popular kids in my class, and all of them together had it in common that they had no time for the likes of me. I used to go to wrestling meets just to watch him – I’d skulk in the bleachers, trying not to be noticed, as he sauntered, full singlet, in spotlights. I heard a few years after graduation that Donnie was killed in a car accident – it’s likely he and I never spoke, but when I think of High School, I still think of him.

Stylish and moody and deeply sad, Super Dark Times brought back rushes of memories like this – of high school tinged through black times; youth and beauty all muffled and dark...

It tells the story of two best friends, Zach and Josh, and as the trailer voice-over would probably put it “the one mistake that changes their lives forever.” It’s set in the mid-1990s, the same time period I was creeping on Donnie in the stands, so that helped my own personal odyssey into the film. And it gets a lot of the surface details right – the clothes, the phones, the way we still spent our days not looking at screens, killing time in small towns.

But it’s more than that – the film uses genre in a fascinating way, to make metaphor of the feeling we all have as we look back upon this never actually innocent time in our lives with a dark, lost nostalgia, like the doomed deer that crashes through the cafeteria window in the film’s opening scene. Its characters step through the looking glass into sadness and horror and, for some, madness, and in their journey Super Dark Times captures something of that dagger of mortality hanging over our youths – we can’t go back there, and why the hell would we ever want to?

Super Dark Times plays at Tribeca Film Festival: 10:00 PM (4/21), 10:30 PM Sat (4/22), 10:15 PM Sun (4/23)

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Reader Comments (1)

Beautifully written review Jason.

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

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