26 February 2019 | mikaboorem-07352
Decent slow burner
Havana Darkness is a peculiar little film. I did not expect much and I ended up having some decent time with it.
It's a slow burner with plenty of build up. The first half or so revolves around a lost Hemingway manuscript and three Americans who take a trip to Cuba to investigate its authenticity. Or at least this is the pretext John and Karen use to drag Carlos, a bookworm loner, outside of his apartment and to an exotic location where they can have some romantic time.
The film then sinks into the beautiful Havana environment showcasing everything you'd expect a tourist to see there. There are plenty of ominous signs something ill might be going on but it's only Carlos who sees them and you are never quite sure if it's paranoia creeping up on a lonely, obsessed guy.
Of course it isn't just in his head and when John and Karen start to blame Carlos he's ruining their romantic trip, the film takes a sharp turn into a much darker direction. This second half has the three of them hunted by masked men and fighting for their dear lives. The change of pace and tone from the vivid Havana tourist life to a gory, tense chase in a confined environment with seemingly no way out is quite efficient.
The actors did an okay job. Their characters weren't very deep but you kind of expect this with the genre. There was just enough to keep them believable, at least for me. The plot starts with a mystery based on a famous Hemingway quote and the time he spent in Cuba to shift into a straightforward race for survival - but even then there were a couple twists I didn't see coming because I always thought Carlos is the main guy. The mask design alone was worth watching it for. So creepy.
It's not a groundbreaking film but if you are in the mood for a slow burner grab some popcorn, get a friend over, turn the lights off and give it a shot.