Fantasia Festival 2017 Review: DARKLAND

Darkland Fantasia Festival 2017 review

 

A SUCCESSFUL SURGEON THROWS HIS LIFE AWAY TO AVENGE HIS BROTHER’S DEATH IN NEW DANISH THRILLER “DARKLAND”

FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2017 REVIEW
Gary Gamble

Fantasia logo DARKLAND review

Darkland tells the story of Ziad (Dar Salim), a well-respected surgeon who migrated to Denmark from Iraq with his family. Life seems good, he has the luxury apartment, a great job, a wife and a child on the way. 

Ziad’s life changes forever when his younger brother arrives at his door, distressed, desperate and looking for cash. It would seem the brother looking for cash wasn’t an isolated incident. We get the impression that this a regular occurrence, (he is looking for 100k ), so Ziad turns him away. What Ziad didn’t know is that he unintentionally signed his younger brother’s death warrant. He was attacked outside Ziad’s upper-class apartment and beaten to death by a local immigrant gang.

Ziad and his family find little to no comfort in the authorities. Not only do the police seem racist, but they show no sympathy for the loss of life due to the activities the young brother was caught up in.

Ziad begins to ask questions.

He wants answers, he wants to find why his brother died. He delves into the underbelly of  Denmark revealing a dark, seedy and dangerous side to the city that he never knew existed. The further he goes down the rabbit hole, the further he detaches himself from his home and professional life. 

With zero help from the police, Ziad feels he is left with no choice but to avenge his brother’s death. In this new-found world of drugs, gangs, murder and prostitution, Ziad begins to hunt the scum of the city until he finds the ones responsible.

Darkland review Fantasia Film Festival 2017

DARKLAND works on so many levels. 

I THINK THAT ZIAD WAS A FIGHTER BEFORE HE BECAME A SURGEON

The guys who train him, know him and are reluctant at first. For reasons unknown, they try to talk Ziad out of training; maybe this is because he was some sort of animal with a violent past before becoming a surgeon?. I don’t think these questions are answered, but I would like to believe that he had some fighting experience, rather than seeing him learn to fight in the short sequences of the film.

The build-up to Ziad becoming this vigilante is frightening and the acting is remarkable. It’s all in the strong character development as we watch him throw away his professional life and slowly become the masked avenger. His guilt and obsession for justice have turned him into a  brutal force of reckoning. Ziad. is now hell-bent on avenging his younger brother’s death and destroying anyone who crosses his path.  The film quickly shifts from a gangland racial drama, into a dark and unsettling revenge tale.

Carrying the same artistic visual style as Nicolas Winding Refn films driven with a familiar, but strong revenge tale.

DARKLAND’s originality lies wrapped in the social commentary that deals with prominent issues in Denmark such as immigrant gangs, drugs, hatred + racism.

8/10

Words By Gary Gamble

 

 

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