Towards Darkness purports to expose the scourge of kidnapping in Colombia by reveling in the tropes of the jittery, time-leaping, turbo-charged action thriller—call it The Bourne Opprobrium. The debut feature of writer-director Antonio Negret tells us something of the practical, psychological, and economic dynamics of this demoralizing South American growth industry; also that he can stage one hell of a car chase. The film (shot on video) starts with a bang—handsome José (Roberto Urbina) smashed upside the head, blindfolded, and dragged through the jungle—and it keeps on banging, crosscutting in flashback amongst a dizzying network of subplots (rogue ex-FBI agents, shady banking schemes) and stylistics (montage! montage! montage!). Bang goes the climax, too, before resolving in the bleakest of whimpers. Admirably tough-minded if overstuffed, Towards Darkness delivers on its foreboding title. And Negret, I suspect, will deliver on the promise of this.
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