DARKLAND review


2017
Directed by: Fenar Ahmad
Starring: Dar Salim
Country: Denmark


A motion picture about requital that puts aside its comeuppance for as long as possible, DARKLAND highlights a deep dive into character that revenge tales rarely allow. Fenar Ahmads' disturbing follow-up to Ækte vare does deliver on its promise of a masked vigilante, but not before exploring all the loss, guilt and even internal prejudice driving a well-to-do doctor Zaid (Dar Salim) down a path of both self-destruction and violence against his own people.

Zaid, the child of Iraqi migrants, has had it great in Denmark. He's an all-around happy guy. A well-regarded specialist and an eager father living in the midst of the more elite classes of white European culture; he's moved far from his parents neighborhood and its nearby Arab gangsters. His more youthful sibling Yasin wasn't so fortunate, using petty theft and low-level drug dealing just to remain above water. He turns to Zaid after getting himself in trouble with his boss, a neighborhood dealer who answers to a higher power. The good doctor needs no piece of his infant sibling's way of life, regardless of the fact that it's only a temporary loan to get him out of harm's way. This is the life and the group Zaid abandoned. Turning his back on Yasin is what causes this young mans early demise.

The splendor of Ahmad's film is in his use of time. He takes into account a moderate, efficient plunge into brutality. Zaid is offered time to ponder his mind-boggling guilt and franticness as he gets to know some fairly ridiculous individuals. Endeavoring to balance the life that has been taken from him with the one he now has. DARKLAND is a story where misfortune is genuinely felt, one where preference and social self-loathing are conveyed to the surface through showdown and one where the savagery is difficult to witness; not on account of its realism, but rather in view of the toll it takes on the spirit of a man committed to sparing lives.

Anyone who thought Christopher Nolan's BATMAN was a "gritty" or "grounded" take on revenge-seeking hero's needs to see DARKLAND, it makes THE DARK KNIGHT look like BATMAN '66.


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