As far as documentaries go, this is probably one of the best and most engrossing ones I've ever watched. The movie follows around a few of the people in the Darkon community and shows you who they are in real life and who they are in Darkon. The documentary gets into why these people play this game (I use this phrase loosely, it isn't so much a game as it is an alternate reality) and it really becomes eye opening. The movie never really covers the way people might judge these role players (which I think is a good choice), but as a viewer we know it happens. Even mentioning the acronym LARP conjures images in your mind that are often not flattering. But what this documentary effectively shows is that these people are just having a really great time, and it is pretty amazing to get to watch them live out there fantasies collectively. There is this sense of community and a mutual understanding of the rules that isn't so different from the way we all live our normal lives, except it is much more pure in Darkon. People respect one another and even opposing forces really only oppose for the sake of the game.
It's pretty crazy watching and learning about all of the different rules that go into this and just how in depth Darkon is. Half of the fun of this movie is getting to experience all this stuff that people have invested their lives into creating. It really is mind blowing if you let yourself get sucked into it.
Just a quick disclaimer, my rating for this film is based on how it ranks as a documentary. This is not necessarily my favorite movie of all time but it is an amazing documentary that highlights a lifestyle that many of us are not too familiar with besides the way it is depicted by popular culture (Role Models is probably most peoples entry point into this, or the Avatar LARP on youtube). So if you are not interested in documentaries or the topic this one is discussing, this movie might not be as interesting to you.
I found "Darkon" to be a rather cruel documentary. What you see is people trying to compensate for their real-life inadequacies by impersonating imaginary heroes, and recreating in the virtual world the same kinds of relationships of domination, the same behaviours and situations as in real life. One player explains how his training for the mock battles has helped him lose weight, but he is still obese. A chainstore employee who is put upon by his customers realises he gets the same kind of treatment from the other players. A former real-life stripper dances seductively around the campfire. A stay-at-home husband who had been crushed by real-world dog-eat-dog competition gets crushed by its counterpart in the virtual world. And the real-life leaders use the same charisma and ability for speechifying to get to the top in the game world.
I felt that there was less camaraderie abd playfulness in Darkon than in Nero, and much more ruthlessness. One player comments that during battle, you can see the red in other people's eyes, and when these guys recount the joys of the battlefield, you cannot help thinking that historians could gain some insight about, say, the Vikings, just by talking to them.
The film also made me realise the tragedy of so many people deserting to fantasy worlds because they find no room for heroism or great deeds in their daily environment. This only makes the situation worse, abandoning the real world to unimaginative, buraucratic minds, and making future desertions even more likely.