Hold the Dark, Pass the Baloney

DATELINE: Not a Howl to be Had!

Wright is wrong

Wright is wrong.

When this movie starts with an unlikely quote from poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, we know we have gone to where over-education lives. We just didn’t know that was in the Alaskan wilderness.

Hold the Dark is a 2018 production that wants to be Stanley Kubrick’s ponderous return to the screen. Unfortunately, Kubrick is dead and this weird paranormal, abnormal plot tosses a bone to the wild wolves who’d be at home at the Overlook Hotel or Nosferatu’s Castle.

Yup, paranormal wolves are taking children in the woods, like some kind of bad fairy tale of yore. So, the mother of one victim calls in Jeffrey Wright as an expert on wolves out of their element (fresh out of Westworld) to help her post-traumatic soldier/husband Alexander Skarsgaard (fresh out of True Blood).

The monsters here aren’t exactly werewolves, but there is some inexplicable and illogical secret about the people living up in Alaska. No one is called Palin. It never is revealed what is happening, but it’s hardly worth the effort to figure it out.

Good luck with this colossal waste of time.

Everything is extreme in the movie, including pointless tedium: especially shining Nature and the weather, whether it’s Iraqi desert storms or Alaskan blizzards. We are not where metaphor blows mildly.

There is a police massacre that defies any purpose, except blood-letting by a minor character who holds them at bay. It is ridiculous, hardly mysterious. It’s offensive to make vets mass murderers.

That’s not to say Hold the Dark is a bad movie. It’s simply pointless. We just wonder why anyone gave this a green-light. Who exactly is the audience? We mean, besides the film production company’s relatives and creditors.

If you are willing to stick with this movie for its two hours and a couple of minutes, you will know the filmmakers loved it. They dote on every image as if the calling up the spirit of David Lynch’s cutting room floor sweepings.

Set-ups and simile details are not exactly a marvel, more like a tad overwrought, but atmosphere is art for its own sake. Hold on. The dark is always with us, and we are left in it.