Dark Streets : Release Year - 2008
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Overall Rating : 5.5/10

Directed By : Rachel Samuels

Gabriel Mann (Born Killers)
Bijou Phillips (Hostel Part 2)
Izabella Miko (Coyote Ugly)
Elias Koteas (Shooter)

Supplied By : Warner Home Video/New Line Cinema

Film Reviewed By : Rick L. Blalock

Date Reviewed : July. 1, 2009

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PLOT
Welcome to the Blues and mystery of Dark Streets. Chaz Davenport is a dashing playboy who has it all: a hot nightclub, two glamorous singers and the most seductive music ever created playing from his stage. But when he enlists help to look into the sinister circumstances surrounding his father's death, Davenport's life spirals out of control.
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THE REVIEW
Chaz Davenport is an ambitious playboy who is the son of a wealthy businessman who is the head of the city's power company. Instead of joining his father in the ranks, Chaz goes off on his own to open his own night club, a club known as "The Tower". Shortly after setting out to open The Tower, the news spreads that his dad has committed suicide. A few weeks later, Chaz comes into a possession of a letter written by Aurthur Davenport, his father that would suggest foul play. Determined to get some answers, but amidst his search he must dodge goons whom are after him to collect on debts, alcoholism, and declining business at the once booming club. For a man who seemed to be going nowhere but up, Chaz begins to see his life take a downward spiral as he is caught in a web of darkness and betrayal.

As I began watching DARK STREETS, I was into it from it's very first musical number as visually I was swept into a 1930s world of "magic" The cinematography on display here, as well as it's musical performances are both wonderful. But it's when DARK STREETS heads into actual story territory that you realize that the plot itself would be held together by some very lose ends and dense storytelling. The film plays out much like the most typical film noir of the time period in which it is mimicking. We have our main character, who sports the mandatory pencil-thin Clark Gable mustache, who is a flamboyant playboy of sorts. Chaz Davenport comes from a family of power - literally, as his father is the head of the power company, and extremely wealthy from it. Instead of following family tradition, Chaz defies his Dad and decides to live out his dream by opening up the night club that is the central basis of the film. His father ends up dead via what is said to be suicide, but eventually he uncovers truth which may prove to put Chaz himself in danger. During hid "investigation" into his dad's death, it's no surprise that his life begins to go down hill as we watch Davenport emerge himself in alcohol, carelessness when it comes to the club and debt, but in the way the story progresses, although the plot is supposed to be of the viewer's main concern, it eventually becomes a bit of a small underscore playing second to the music. The stage numbers is where the film truly shines, so much so that I must agree with Roger Ebert when I too believe that DARK STREETS probably would've fared much better as a straight-forward musical, instead of a film that tries to be heavily plot based.

The acting here, despite the story is surprisingly good. Gabriel Mann is here is the lead role as Chaz Davenport. Out of all of the reviews that I have read, everyone seems very critical of Mann's performance. Some have said he's not authentic enough in the role, which may be true, but I don't think that he was truly awful - after all, I have seen performances that are worse for films set around the same time period. As I said, the performances and the music are really the reason for seeing DARK STREETS, and I have to give it to the two leading ladies in the film, Bijou Phillips(as Crystal) and Izabella Miko(Madelaine), especially Phillips. As for Miko's vocal performance, her song vocals are indeed dubbed, but I feel that her look was right for this film piece as she has a "classic beauty" about her. Also having a unique beauty is Bijou Phillips, whom i've always been a fan of. To me Phillips is a bit underrated and never gets enough credit, certainly not the credit she deserves. Here she performs her own vocals on two original songs and does very well, which really isn't all that surprising seeing that she comes from a family of performers - i'd say that this has to be one of her best performances to date.

In the end, DARK STREET's story may not be something to write home about, but the film isn't one that's completely forgettable, as the musical performances are quite pleasing and memorable. The film is shot and directed very well, and I feel that with a better script Director Rachel Samuels could really show her talents.
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GORE METER
2.5/10 Just a couple of gunshot wounds.
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MUSICAL SCORE
6/10 In my opinion, the music here is great. All original songs, they all contain an appropriate bluesy feel.
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OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As a whole, DARK STREETS is a film that is fun to look at and it's musical performances are fantastic, but story-wise the plot is thin and dry with nothing really out of the ordinary happening. This film is still worth checking out for the music alone, but if you're looking for a film with an engaging story, then this wouldn't be it.
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STILLS


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