indulge in some quiet time





a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


editor's note 

o lounge 
o nourish 
o host

o send an ECARD

submit your ideas
support digs

rented any good movies lately? jump to the boards and recommend it. 
other new + recent LAZE features:
o Flick: Super Size Me
: Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls
o Flick: About a Boy
o Flick
: Mostly Martha
: Arrested Development, The Office
o Flick
: House of Sand and Fog
o Flick: House of Sand and Fog
o Flick
: In America
o Flick
: Whale Rider
o Flick
: The Graduate
o Flick
: M*A*S*H
o Flick
: Talk to Her
o Flick
: Live Flesh
o Footloose & TV-free
o Flick
: Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)
o Flick
: School of Rock
o Flick
: Pieces of April
o Flick
: The Station Agent
o DVD TV: West Wing, Gilmore Girls

copyright ©1999-2005

buy the DVD

flick pick | Dark Days 2000
Directed by: Marc Singer
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: documentary
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: serious, true?!?
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: ½/5 

Plot synopsis In the dark tunnels by the Amtrak train tracks around Penn Station, a resourceful group of homeless men and women squatted for years. Taking advantage of the relative protection that the tunnels afforded from mainstream society -- as one of the residents notes, nobody in his right mind would come down here -- they scavenged scrap wood to build their own one-room shelters, furnished them with cast-offs rescued from the street curbs above. They patched into the tunnel's electricity to light and heat their homes, and provide a way for them to cook, even watch TV; they siphoned water from the city's lines, took advantage of leaky water pipes for showers, made makeshift toilets out of plastic buckets and discarded toilet seats. After Marc Singer first heard about this subterranean community on a television program, his curiosity led him down into the tunnels to learn more. Soon, he started thinking about the idea of filming a documentary about life in the tunnel -- never mind that Singer had never before made a film. His obsession with the underground community led him to spend two years living in the tunnels himself, as he persuaded a local company to lend him a 16-mm Bolex camera, trained his new tunnel friends to act as the camera crew, threw all his savings into the project, and became broke and homeless himself. Dark Days is the movie that came out of it all, offering an incredible, fascinating look at how people get to the point where they're struggling to survive on the fringes of society, and giving us a glimpse into how despite drug addictions and troubles with the law, family abandonment and no income, human beings can come up with some amazing ways to cobble together something resembling a home.

Review I have to admit: fifteen minutes into Dark Days, I whispered to my boy, "I'm kind of bored." Fortunately, he promptly proceeded to ignore me, and so, I reluctantly continued to watch. I'm glad I did, because in this case, a little (forced) patience turned out to be well rewarded. What I thought was going to be a depressing look at drugged-out, possibly insane, mostly incomprehensible "mole people" turned into something a whole lot more interesting, as Singer and his interviewees invite us into their makeshift homes, and you find yourself increasingly impressed by the ingenuity that the tunnel-dwellers have shown in managing to eke out something from nothing. Anyone who's ever looked at a homeless person and thought that they were just too lazy to get a job needs to see Dark Days; the people we meet in the film work hard to get by, even if how they're working isn't the traditional day job and the pay-offs seem minimal. Singer doesn't gloss over the darker aspects of homelessness; it's sometimes all too obvious that some of the subjects are drunk, or high, or mentally ill, or maybe all three. But it's clear that Singer really respects his subjects, and the fact that he actually lived with and befriended them comes through; this isn't the sort of documentary where you feel like a dispassionate observer looking in at something strange and foreign. In fact, though it's impossible not to be moved by the more shocking revelations, as when Dee describes how she watched her two young boys die in a fire on the TV news while she was doing time in prison, it's the less dramatic stuff that really gets to me -- watching Dee and her friend talking about what constitutes proper cooking, or seeing Tommy playing with his dogs in the penned-off area he's crafted for them right outside his hut. Shot in black-and-white with an appropriately gritty look-and-feel, and featuring a fabulously moody-perfect soundtrack by DJ Shadow, the documentary is interesting in-and-of-itself. But take the time to watch the DVD's extras as well, and you'll really appreciate just how amazing an achievement Dark Days really is.  —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

looking for a recommendation? 
find a flick to suit your mood

or browse the 
complete list of flick picks

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home .