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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Darkest Hour

Suspenseful sci-fi thriller of invisible aliens in Moscow

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2011, English and Russian) Software designers Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) from Seattle arrive on a flight in Moscow, expecting to expand their business Globetrot, only to discover that their Swedish partner Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) has stolen their concept and sold it to the Russians, giving them his excuse: "just business." In a nightclub, Sean, optimistic because he's used to screwing up, and Ben, drinking "religiously," meet Anne (Rachael Taylor) from Australia and Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) from the US.

Just as the four take a group selfie of themselves, the lights go out. Outside in the darkened city in a crowd they watch as glowing golden entities float to Earth from the night sky. When a cop uses his nightstick to touch one, unseen, he's zapped and disintegrates. Everyone panics as the invisible invaders attack, obliterating people.

Joined by Skyler, who alone among them can translate Russian, the terrified five hide, locking themselves in a basement storeroom for two days. When they emerge, they find only dust and ashes from the massacre of millions. Suspenseful sci-fi thriller directed by Chris Gorak from Jon Spaihts's screenplay opens in a 3-D wheeling spacey galactic spiral with Tyler Bates's music. The aliens' electromagnetic point of view scans for the humans.

While retrieving a map and flares from the trunk of a police car, Sean observes: "Electricity gives it away." Thus, by moving only at night they can better detect where the aliens are. They take refuge in GUM department store. "You don't know who you are until something happens," Skyler remarks.

Before replacing his shabby suit jacket with one of leather from a store manikin, Sean quips: "What's the dress code for the end of the world?" Sean and Natalie make a life-saving discovery that glass acts as a protective shield from the aliens. While Skyler has stayed below, the other four climb stairs to the top of the building for a better view where they find a radio broadcasting a message in Russian repeatedly.

A light appears from a window in another multistory building. Hopeful of finding others who've survived, they cautiously make their way across before daylight. Inside a room designed as a Faraday cage, they find Vika (Veronika Vernadskaya) and Sergei (Dato Bakhtadze), who has employed steel bars to ground electrical currents.

Sergei, explaining that the wave-energy aliens microwaved Moscow, has built a homemade microwave projector he hopes will disable their defenses. "Fight fire with fire," says Sean. The message on the radio is transmitting from a Russian nuclear submarine in the river, calling on survivors to come to it by morning.

On their way to reach the sub, Sean, Natalie, and the others still alive encounter Matvei (Gosha Kutsenko) and his small group of Moscow defenders, doubtful of their chances of achieving their objective. The aliens are mining the world for its minerals.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2016 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)