Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark ★★★★

There was something about this film that made me tense-up throughout, it was a subtle but persistent feeling of dread. A lot of people criticise it for its “lack of ending” and yes, to be blunt the ending was not climactic or particularly conclusive. The film’s climax comes about an hour in, in a particularly drawn-out and troubling scene in which a local guns down almost every policeman in the town. If you are after an ending you can turn it off there. The film is more than a story-telling vice, its sole purpose seems to be in building an atmosphere. This particular atmosphere is a grim one to watch, one that breeds feelings of resentment and isolation from the townspeople and an intense fear of nature from the audience and main character. The unfamiliarity of the town and it’s surrounding forests is bounced from the main character onto the audience through the use of several very resounding metaphors including imagery of rabid dogs in the town and regretful words from characters of wishing for a hotter climate when it is so barren, miserable and cold where they are. In short, the film successfully creates a dynamic of trust between the main character and the audience, so that we feel as though we have jumped from the plane with him, our snow-boots landing in the frost of isolated Alaska in preparation for an adventure that will quickly turn into something dark and unforgiving- nature and human nature at its most animalistic and base roots.