Dark Country Thomas Jane

Dark Country Thomas Jane
Possibly the biggest tragedy about Dark Country — yet another low budget movie about newlyweds who accidentally hit a stranger with their car on a dark, lost highway — is that it takes itself seriously even though the lead characters are named Dick and Gina. In all honesty, actor Thomas Jane's directorial debut probably could have been a cult classic if Brother Bear writer Tab Murphy had just gone all out and named the female lead Pussy Delight and turned the mysterious stranger into a sexually confused donkey. Instead, we get atrocious green screen akin to that used in Pulse 2 and Pulse 3, desultory stylization and awkwardly executed psychological tension. It's pretty much a disaster from beginning to end, quite literally. The opening scenes cobble together low angles, random crane shots and inappropriate close-ups, as Dick (Thomas Jane) delivers a mumbled voiceover about darkness, marriage and Vegas in a dreadful attempt to mimic classic film noir. But where gumshoe films of decades past used this visual flourish for heightened mood and emotional exaggeration, Dark Country adopts it because it can, dropping the aesthetic completely after 20 minutes. At this point, Dick and Gina (Lauren German), the spunky new wife, drive through the desert while the missus pleasures herself with an ice cube. Logic of arousal aside, the comely pair almost hit a man already near death, beaten beyond recognition. From here on out the film attempts to be enigmatic, even though we know exactly where everything is heading long before the lead actors start screaming and over-acting. The only equivocality here is how this project got beyond the conception stage without someone stepping in and saying, "Um, Thomas, maybe this isn't such a good idea." Supplemental materials include a "Journey to Dark Country" featurette, wherein Ron Perlman, Lauren German and a couple of producers talk of Thomas Jane's hard work and enthusiasm, which is sweet but sort of depressing. Also included is a feature commentary track with Jane and Tab Murphy where they talk about character motivations, car selection and the excitement of making their very own independent movie. (Sony)