The film suffers from a sense of stuffy apathy
When The Dark Tower first opened in cinemas overseas, it came into a lot of flack for a number of reasons. Based on Stephen King’s long-running series of novels, the film runs at just 93 minutes and was deemed by a lot of its critics to be too short of a running time for a film of such magnitude. What this does not count for, however, is that The Dark Tower is not a retelling of the story, it is a continuation. Thus giving it far more leeway that was originally deemed so.
New York teenager Jake (Roland Deschain) has terrible nightmares. Each night, he dreams of a dark tower, the only connection between multiple worlds oblivious of each other’s existence. By day, he draws his nightmares, strewing them across his bedroom. When noticed by the Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey), Jake is a sought after tool for his planned destruction of the tower. It is only when Jake escapes his world does he meet The Gunslinger (Idris Elba), and the pair realise they have a common enemy.
There isn’t a great deal of intrigue surrounding The Dark Tower. The film suffers from a sense of stuffy apathy, but that doesn’t make it a terrible watch. Throughout it does feel empty, almost with a dry and unforgiving atmosphere, but not as if it were intended. This has to be related to the direction, where a much broader use of the talent on offer would have made a more powerful watch.
However, Idris Elba is always fascinating in his captivating style of acting, which powers the film via its best moments. He is effectively holding the piece together, and while McConaughey is bland in comparison to some of his recent roles, he will always be a valid screen presence and the rivalry is a predictable yet enjoyable one to watch.
The opening sections rely far too heavily on the cliche of a child drawing crazy images, something as unoriginal as a downbeat character with a drinking problem. This was obviously needed to set up the film for its advanced sections but it should have been handled in a better manner.
The Dark Tower is by no means a bad film. It certainly has its weaknesses and much of the film is of a particularly bland taste, but with Elba in the driving seat, there was always going to be a level of entertainment even the harshest critics couldn’t bash out of it.