The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

(2017)

Their war is coming to our world.

Based on Stephen King's novel series, The Dark Tower stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger hoping to preserve his dying world by reaching the titular tower. Matthew McConaughey co-stars as the film's mysterious villain, pursued by Deschain. To quote King's opening sentence, "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed".

Flicks Review

Relegating the killer opening line of Stephen King’s sprawling saga - "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed” - to mid-film voiceover immediately gets this already-maligned adaptation off on the wrong foot. It’s a sign of what’s to come in this reinterpretation that misses so much of what makes The Dark Tower series tick that it’ll let down fans as much as it perplexes newcomers.... More

It’s important to take the film at face value, even if those involved have forgotten the faces of their fathers, but let's start with the most deflating departure from the source material. Idris Elba’s gunslinger Roland isn’t the main character of the film, barely appearing for the first third - instead we follow generic white kid Jake, whose relationship with Roland never contains King’s heartrending partings.

As director Nikolaj Arcel collages together moments from the novels into this first film chapter, the effect is to shorten the epic nature of the duo’s quest. Quicker and easier, there’s also nowhere near enough time to see their relationship develop. Nor is King’s increasingly-complex mythology allowed to gradually unfurl - it’s borderline nonsensical from the get-go. The film’s conclusion, too, is so brusquely definitive - even while teasing further adventures - that based on the hokum of the preceding 90 minutes, there is only terrible narrative trickery in the future, were the story to continue.

Given Elba’s screen time, we unsurprisingly don’t see enough of him in action - when we do, he is everything you’d want him to be, though the action sequences themselves are clumsy, generic, and sometimes dated. Matthew McConaughey’s casting seemed equally inspired, but he’s allowed to be too much of a caricature of a villain, especially when frequently spouting gobbledegook exposition to underlings in his cliched baddie’s lair. Reduced to a generic cartoon team-up mystic dimension-hopping action movie that barely functions, marred by terrible supporting performances, The Dark Tower is a hugely missed opportunity.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 0 reviews
Reviewed & Rated by
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

The Press Reviews

  • It's a highly competent and watchable paranoid metaphysical video game that doesn't overstay its welcome, includes some luridly entertaining visual effects, and - it has to be said - summons an emotional impact of close to zero. Full Review

  • Heaven knows, the books offer more invention than could fit in one feature film, but in their effort to introduce newcomers to this world, the filmmakers make the saga's contents look not archetypal but generic and cobbled together. Full Review

  • It falls because it's too embarrassed to stand. Full Review

  • Elba is genuinely great as the tormented Roland, but the film does its best to suffocate him under a mountain of plot-heavy nonsense. Disappointing. Full Review

  • So much is so wrong about this stunted film version of Stephen King's marvelously dense and dazzling series of eight novels, that all I can say is this unholy mess shouldn't happen to a King, much less a paying customer. Full Review

  • Onscreen, The Dark Tower serves up a generic, half-baked scenario no different from a slew of better-known YA properties in which young, wide-eyed protagonists discover their connections to a hidden fantastical world. Full Review

  • About the only thing holding it together is Idris Elba, whose irrepressible magnetism and man-of-stone solidity anchors this mess but can't redeem it. Full Review

The Talk
92 %

Want to see it

What say you?
Movies like this one