Days of Darkness gets off to a good start but runs out of steam as the film progresses.
It is director Denys Arcand’s third instalment to the informal trilogy about western decadence and eroding values that began with The Decline of American Civilization (1986) and continued with The Barbarian Invasions (2003).
The final chapter features everyman Jean-Marc (Marc Lebreche), star of his own fantasies of grandeur and fame. In real-life he is a disillusioned paper-pusher in Quebec’s Civil Right’s department while an unknown epidemic sweeps the nation. He is chastely married to a workaholic real estate agent (Sylvie Leonard) and has two daughters that choose to listen to their iPods over him every time. In his unreality, Jean-Marc is a winning artist, politician and/or Don Juan with hot women fawning over him constantly.
Arcand’s creation lampoons office life, disintegration of the family, inanity of the media and political correctness – and for the most part, it is on target. However, the narrative goes off course and loses momentum when Jean-Marc enters the Dark Ages in a sequence where the line between dream and reality is made very thin. Unfortunately, it is not redeemed by the end, which amounts to a cop-out towards the simple life.
Another let-down came when all the special features on the DVD were in French without English subtitles; thus they will not be evaluated here.