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Night

Year: 2007
Production Co: Film Finance Corporation
Director: Lawrence Johnson
What a fantastic idea for a movie this was. Is there anything else in life we rely on so much yet take such little notice of than the cycle of night and day? As Night itself attests, the time of day can profoundly affect not just our behaviour but everything around us.

There was great potential in looking at our relationship to the night, the way we've changed it and it's changed us. With the night time meaning so many different things to so many people when it comes to work, play, fear, romance, relaxation and every other area of human life, it's a wonder nobody thought of it sooner.

What a shame, then, about the result. Director Lawrence Johnston doesn't get it wrong - the film is presumably exactly the way he wanted, and he was very true to his intentions.

But if you've ever been fascinated by the night or thought about how it affects you, the film needed a lot more. There's just so much to investigate. Why are we so much more open to the possibility of romance at night and fall in love more easily? Why do we fear the dark? Why do we find it easier to lie, steal or deceive under the cover of darkness? Why do most murders occur at night? Why is the night quieter - both in the world and in our minds?

Ideas like those above are what you'll be hoping to get from Night, and it does touch on them, but breezes over them so lightly it leaves you wanting much more.

Structurally it's little more than a collection of images of night time moods and scenes; starfields, an oil refinery, the desert, pubs, the dark windows of houses. There's no doubt Johnston has a good eye for the angle and composition of a shot.

Voiceover comments permeate the slow action with various talking heads sharing their experiences of everything from horror movies to childhood bedtimes.

It's languid and beautiful set to composer Cezary Skubisewski's score, but after ninety minutes of it you'll be shuffling to get comfortable and looking at your watch. It would have been much better if it were structured into chapters looking at everything from people who work at night to our fear of the dark, with a lot more sources than just people whimsically reminiscing.

It's technically adept and shows great promise, but pretty pictures do not a movie make. Every night has a million stories, and this film needed to tell them.

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