When I saw the previews for Dark Streets, I was intrigued. It looked like a darker Moulin Rouge meets Chicago, a smoky musical thriller set in the underworld of New Orleans. Unfortunately, reality is often much less exciting.
Dark Streets stars Gabriel Mann as Chaz, a playboy and nightclub owner who finds his life spinning out of control amidst too many love affairs, debt and the mystery surrounding his father's death. Though there is a plot, Dark Streets is essentially one-long music video, featuring original songs with performances by Natalie Cole, Etta James, Richie Sambora and more.
I often watch movies while doing other work, such as writing reviews. Admittedly, I was doing other stuff while watching Dark Streets, so when I say many specific plot points escape my memory, that would be the reason. But a telltale sign of a good movie - or a bad one - is how much or how little I end up paying attention to it. Even memorably bad movies will draw my attention away from my multitasking efforts. With Dark Streets, I got about 15 minutes into it, restarted it from the beginning, and lost interest two minutes later. I remember watching Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Pink Panther 2 earlier in the day - while doing other work - but Dark Streets failed to create a lasting memory. It's sad when my brain would rather remember scenes of Steve Martin acting like an idiot than, well, anything.
Dark Streets has a great visual style. No scene is ever entirely in focus and the film itself feels like a dream. There's some great music and the girls are pretty, but unfortunately, Dark Streets amounts to just that: a pretty movie without substance. The story and characters fail to create a lasting impression, and thus it's more like a dream than director Rachel Samuels intended; once it's over, it's all a haze.
Dark Streets looks nice and has a decent soundtrack, but Samuels forgets to tell an engaging story. Dark Streets is boring and uninteresting, and not worth the 90 minutes it takes to watch.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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