Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Dark Tower

Author(s): James Somerton
Location: Canada

"The Dark Tower"

Directed By David Lynch
Written By David Lynch and Stephen King

Main Cast

Viggo Mortensen as Roland; The Gunslinger
Justin Theroux as Mordred
Jeremy Irons as Father Callahan
Alexander Michaeletos as The Boy; Jake
and Tobin Bell as The Crimson King

Tagline: "Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came"

Synopsis: Roland sits inside the rumbling train car as the deserts of the world go by him in a blur of sand and waste. The vibrations of the train are soothing though and he is almost at rest when the train comes to a violent halt. Stepping out into the darkening desert night, Roland sees someone in front of the train. Clad entirely in shadow. Could it be the man in black? No. This figure seems to be naked... But so black... At closer glance he sees that the skin has been charred black by fire. "I am Mordred" it says and the train explodes.

Roland wakes. The train is still intact but it has stopped. Looking out into the darkness, Roland doesn't see anyone in front of the train. He takes his pistols and ventures out into the darkness. The train speeds off, leaving him alone in the vast expanse of the desert. He will once again travel by foot to The Dark Tower.

Roland may be alone but he can't escape his dreams. Mordred haunts him, even when he is awake. He can see him in the heat of the desert. At night the desert cold sets in. No shelter. No heat. He can't even escape into dreams for Mordred meets him there. That thing... burned to near nothingness.

His travels reveal little of civilization. In fact, he doubts if there ever was one here. Father Callahan finds him. Roland gives in to him immediately, no questions asked. The good father came from nowhere but he knows Roland somehow. He knows his way. The way to The Dark Tower. Jake meets him also. But Jake is dead... The boy lost to the underground so long ago. He too knows of the dark tower. Knows of the field of roses. The Crimson King held up inside.

When Roland awakes he sets out on a perilous journey through the underground of the desert. It seems as though all life has finally left this place with nary a living soul to be seen. Mordred is still with him though. Haunting his dreams. When he emerges from the underground he can smell the scent of roses...

A thousand feet above him is the tip of The Dark Tower; spiraling down to the ground in black onyx. The Gunslinger approaches the great structure and is about to enter it when he sees the Man in Black looking out at him through a jagged window. But he is now clad in red... The Crimson King. The Gunslinger finally is able to battle the man he has been hunting. Cowardly, The Crimson King quickly escapes and flees to the top of the tower. The Gunslinger advances on him step by step. At the top of the tower The Crimson King flees behind a door. The only door in the top room. The Gunslinger wastes no time before entering the door after him.

He was no longer in the tower. He knew this. A desert wind lashed his face as he surveyed his surroundings. And then he saw him. The one he had been hunting. He watched him closely from a distance and knew what he must do. The Man in Black fled across the desert and The Gunslinger fallowed.

What the Press would say:

David Lynch's "The Dark Tower" is the culminating support beam in a series of beams that hold up "The Dark Tower" as a series. It is the final leg of Roland's journey to the mythical source of all being; The Dark Tower. His journey has brought pain, struggle, and even death to those around him. Beginning as a solitary quest in "The Gunslinger" and becoming a group effort in "The Drawing of the Three" and "The Waste Lands", Roland is again alone, fighting his way through a harsh desert, and even harsher dreams. That's what this movie is about after all; dreams. The majority of the movie is told as Roland's dreams and, more often than not, nightmares. We are ripped in and out of his nightmares to often that we begin to lose touch with reality. In classic Lynch fashion, we are lead to believe one thing while something entirely different is happening. Only two characters really exist in this movie; Roland and The Crimson King. All the others are merely figments of Roland's dreams. The good reverend come to save his soul, the returning child who he had failed to save, the demonic, charred creature known as Mordred.

Roland's soul is all but lost in this film and Viggo Mortensen's performance encapsulates this completely. Th dread, the loss, the foreboding feeling of being forever on your own. The Gunslinger's eyes have aged so much since the last film. He is no longer the Clint Eastwood-esc anti-hero. He is now a worn down shell of what he once was. Rarely have we seen fear in this man's eyes but now fear engulfs him. His nightmares are becoming his reality as he slips further and further into a sort of insanity. He does return to the purity of The Gunslinger in the final moments of the film though. When he finally reaches The Dark Tower his journey has ended and he can rest. We feel the relief he feels as he chases The Crimson King up into the highest part of the tower. And then... he has to do it all over again.

At the end of this film we have all our questions answered. But now a whole new set of questions arise. How many times has Roland had to endure this journey? Has it ever changed or has it been an unending loop of events that he will have to face for eternity. Can he remember doing it before or is he naive to this fact? David Lynch has crafted the most confusing epic in film history, where questions are answered with enigmas and the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. In this film he tells the greatest dream of all. Like his other works Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, and Lost Highway, "The Dark Tower" reaches into dreams and can sometimes horrify you by them. This is the ultimate nightmare. Being forced to go through horrible pain and suffering over and over again. Never knowing when it might end. The shifting sand dunes, the reverse photography, the completely unexplained presence of Mordred... everything else in his dreams is explained except Mordred. He simply appears and disappears with no explanation. He is a nightmare, wrapped in a dream, wrapped in an question. As is "The Dark Tower". This is an epic that only Lynch could manage. But how much of this series has only been in Roland's head? We'll never know. But we aren't meant to. That is our Dark Tower.

Possible Nominations

Best Picture
Best Director - David Lynch
Best Actor- Viggo Mortensen
Best Adapted Screenplay

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