Dark Tourist (2013)

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A psychological-thriller in the haunting tradition of films like Taxi Driver and Monster, Dark Tourist takes us into the chilling labyrinth of a man's dark hobby and his even darker mind. Jim Tahana (Michael Cudlitz) doesn't leave much of an impression when he passes you by. But look closer and you'll sense his hunger - the deep hunger of an insatiable American soul - always scanning to devour something - anything that might fill the searing, unexplained void within him. Jim obsesses over the hobby that has been part of his DNA since he was a young boy: dark tourism - the act of traveling with the intent to visit places of tragedy or disaster. Every year his week-long vacations from work are spent going to dark tourist locations in the lives of different serial killers he is fascinated with. This year's obsession is Carl Marznap (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a mass murder from New Orleans, Louisiana. But this trip is no ordinary vacation as Jim's rancid sexual impulses and weakening grip on reality deteriorate into a violent despair that will ultimately unlock an unspeakable secret festering within him, bringing Dark Tourist to its brutal and shocking finale. (c) Official Facebook
Rating:
R
Genre:
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Critic Reviews for Dark Tourist

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (5)

Michael Cudlitz's first leading role is the sole selling point of this repellent character study.

Full Review… | September 3, 2013
Variety
Top Critic

Griffith's vulnerable performance is a standout. But the film's final third seems needlessly graphic.

Full Review… | August 29, 2013
New York Post
Top Critic

"Dark Tourist" takes an effectively unpleasant trip down the lost highway of a morbid mind before its bad choices start catching up with it.

Full Review… | August 29, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

Griffith can break your heart as a good woman staggering under the weight of life, especially after her character places her last bit of faith in a dangerously damaged man.

Full Review… | August 27, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

"Dark Tourist" gets bogged down in insufferably slow-moving scenes - interestingly, when Jim is interacting with others, despite consummate performances from Cudlitz and Griffith.

Full Review… | August 22, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Disappointingly resorts to a reductive dissection of its protagonist in the third reel, but The Grief Tourist benefits from Michael Cudlitz's suitably creepy performance, and is an atmospheric, suspenseful ride.

Full Review… | August 28, 2013
What Culture

Audience Reviews for Dark Tourist

½

The finale of the movie is stale and cliche but everything leading up to that point is a profound dissection of the main character.

Cody  Howell
Cody Howell

Michael Cudlitz as you never have seen him before on film ot tv. This is not your "Abraham Ford" Cudlitz, or even your "John Cooper" Cudlitz. This movie is a slow ride to disturbing places. It is not a great film, but there is definitely something intriguing about the movie. there are moments where you can somewhat predict where the story is headed, but then you actually have no idea how far that story is prepared to go. Slow, yet captivating. Interesting, yet disturbing.

Brandon LaMar
Brandon LaMar

Pretty much a pale imitation of Taxi Driver. I think there's a decent idea here, at the very least, that sees a psychologically unstable man traveling to places where murderous rampages occurred. While he's there he sees visions of the murderers, constructs of his own mind, as they explain why they did what they did and why Jim should do the same to those whom he felt wronged him as a child. Or at least the same kind of people. Of course it all goes back to some trauma Jim suffered as a child and how that has psychologically tortured him for most of his adult life. I think that's certainly a good enough idea, and there's elements of a really smart character study here, but it just doesn't really work because of its pacing and structure. The film certainly benefits from a solid central performance from Michael Cudlitz, who does pull the role well. He is someone who's fighting the urge to lash out at the world, at least until the ending where you see just how depraved this man really is, and seeing that struggle within him is pretty interesting because of Cudlitz's performance. He tries to connect to someone in the real world, in the form of Betsy, played by Griffith. It goes about as unsuccessful as you would imagine for someone who can't get sexually aroused by women and, in some way, actively hates them. He pushes her away and treats her like crap. It's kinda sad how Betsy, and Griffith does a good job at making her empathetic, puts her last ounce of faith in such a dangerous and violent man. The last act of the film is fairly violent and graphic, perhaps needlessly so, but I think it illustrates just how depraved Jim's mind truly was. The twist of the film comes in the fact that what you see in the movie isn't the first time this has happened. Jim has gone around the country, visiting places where tragedies happen, and gone on to murder a transvestite prostitute in each state. This was his way of being remembered and obsessed over, the same way he obsessed every murderer and the crimes they committed. He feels that this is his own way of making a mark in this world. I realize it all sounds good when going over it, but the movie never really clicked as a character study for me. I don't really know what it is to be honest. It's certainly not the violence, as The Raid 2 was more violent than this and it's my favorite movie of the year, along with the Lego Movie, it's just that the examination of this character just feels a little bit forced. I don't blame Michael Cudlitz for this as, I believe, he had no involvement in the writing of the film. He's just acting out what was given to him. And he does a good enough job, I just think the film was needlessly ugly at times. Almost like it was going for shock value instead character development. The film is certainly slow moving as well and this film is only 80 minutes long, less if you count the credits. So I think a combination of that and the script being concerned more with shock value than actual character development leaves this film almost in a state of limbo. It's not good, but it's not horrifically terrible in the least. I'd say this film, while I didn't think it was great, is worth at least a watch so people can come up with their own conclusions and opinions about the film. It's not something I would strongly recommend, but I think it at least offers something interesting to watch, even if it's not a good movie.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

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