Dark Night

Tim Sutton

United States, 2016 / 98 min / English OV with English subt / Drama

A bored suburban America obsessed with and plagued by gun violence.

A sultry summer's day in an American suburb. A handful of people are following their daily routines. A teenage boy prefers playing video games to experiencing outside life. A traumatised Iraq war veteran struggles to reconnect with his family. An immigrant tries not to attract attention, while a would-be model would like nothing better. The one thing these people share is their desperation. But, as the sun goes down, they are all caught up in the same terrible event. Vaguely inspired by the 2012 killing spree in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, the film’s various episodes come together to paint a disturbing portrait of the US and probe deep into the psyche of an insecure nation.


Tim Sutton takes this ripped-from-the-headlines story of an all-too-common tragedy and immerses us in the emotional fabric of its young characters’ lives. Sutton deploys a keenly observant style and a recurring motif of guns to suggest the ever-present threat of violence in American life. With its lyrical images, evocative sound design, and mournful soundtrack, “Dark Night” is a quietly powerful elegy for the dead.


“The gifted filmmaker Tim Sutton sets his sights on American gun culture for his third feature, an artfully crafted work that’s ultimately less than the sum of its parts. The ubiquity of screens in contemporary life is hardly an original observation, but Sutton uses screens-within-the-screen to character-defining, era-defining effect. At its strongest, Dark Night taps into the emptiness, hurt and longing beneath the pings and swipes of our "connected" world. But for all its artfulness, the film doesn’t shed light so much as push buttons.” Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 24/01/2016


 “With a title easily confused for Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies — including the one that inspired an amateur super-villain to open fire on an unsuspecting cineplex audience in Aurora, Co. — Tim Sutton’s “Dark Night” is at once a glib play on words and a sobering rumination on the mindset of a suburban America simultaneously obsessed with and plagued by gun violence. Offering a paradoxically intimate and inscrutable glimpse into the lives of half a dozen could-be victims, the film challenges traditionally passive audiences with tough questions — an art-film provocation heightened by the sly fact that Sutton’s poetic social critique will soon find its way from rarefied film festival screenings to the sort of escapist popcorn venues it depicts.” Peter Debruge, Variety, 24/01/2016


“Drifting from one scene to the next, "Dark Night" often feels like a series of likeminded dreams flowing together. There are hints of the atrocity around the corner — glimpses of CNN covering the actual James Holmes shooting in Aurora, the conversations of a teary-eyed support group discussing some unspecified incident — so that Sutton seems to be building toward the grisly climax and away from it at once. The duelling narrative creates a remarkable dialogue between the media narrative and the world preceding its existence. Sutton’s glacially slow approach (…) enables the filmmaker to pierce the air with eerie anticipation of violence around the corner” Erik Kohn, IndieWire, 25/01/2016

  • Special Jury Prize, Feature Film – Torino Film Festival, 2012 (Italy)
Cast & Credits
Anna Rose Hopkins, Robert Jumper, Karina Macias, Conor A. Murphy, Aaron Purvis, Rosie Rodriguez
Tim Sutton
Hélène Louvart
Daniel D’Errico
Bart Mangrum
Maica Armata
3rd Street Office LLC

Tim Sutton has worked amongst others as an art director for the photo agency Getty Images, before directing two critically acclaimed feature films. “Pavilion” was a New York Times Critic's Pick in 2013 and “Memphis”, shown in Venice and Sundance, was selected as one of The New Yorker's Top 10 Films of 2014. Sutton presently teaches film at The New School in New York.

  • 2016 - Dark Night
  • 2013 - Memphis
  • 2012 - Pavilion