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Dark Harbor

A movie directed by Adam Coleman Howard

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Dark Harbor – 1999

  • Mar 13, 2002
Pros: Interesting ending, in fact, a quirky ending

Cons: I didn't like Rickman

The Bottom Line: Worth the ending alone

This is a poor mans Alfred Hitchcock. Not that this was a bad production, only that the actors were so …… plain. Pretty, sure, the wife and the lover were pretty as could be, but the delivery – so dependable.

Time was out of sync throughout the entire movie. Location became muddy as well. Although you knew this was supposed to be a weekend in Maine, instead you got the feeling it was more than a simple weekend and that it was in England, not New England. Maybe it was just me.

The story centers around sinfully rich Alexis (Polly Walker) and her husband, David (Alan Rickman), who are on their way to catch the ferry to their ‘weekend retreat’. They are late, it is pouring rain, they are fighting.

They find a young man – his name is never given – (Norman Reedus) lying next to the road, beaten, take him to the hospital, miss their ferry and start the longest weekend I have ever seen. Due to strange circumstances, they cross roads with the young man again, and offer him shelter in their cottage (did I say cottage? It was a mansion) which was owned by Alexis’ mother, Alexis Senior (Janet Mecca) who absolutely disliked David – gold digger!

Intriguing sparks begin to sizzle between lonely Alexis and the young man, David leaves them to their wiles while he goes golfing, they play dress-up in some outrageous clothes that were stored in one of the out buildings and go mushroom hunting. We are in about day 3 of this weekend now, apparently the rich have different weekends than I do, I’ll never know.

Alexis tells the young man all about mushrooms, what is deadly and so forth. Ah, ha, you think – what delicious plans are these two making? Especially after David and Alexis have a heated argument and she tells him to get out of MY house. Poor David, put in his place!

Frankly, if you want to know just what happened, you’ll have to watch the movie but be prepared for quite the interesting twist.

Chemistry between Norman Reedus and Polly Walker is what really drove this movie. For the spurned lover part he was supposed to be playing, Alan Rickman garnered no interest at all. In fact, many times he appeared actually bored. His speech patterns were slow, reaction time was off key and truthfully I considered him a smarmy borish old prude.

However, both physically and mentally, Reedus and Walker seemed to mesh in their characters. Both attractive, both longing for more, they seemed a better match than she did with Rickman. But, then again, that is what led this movie.

The scenery was beautiful, even the storms. Fog was believable, rain believable, surrounding landscape very breathtaking. Filmed on location in Rockford, Me., but like I said, mannerisms and so forth really gave me the feeling of England. Perhaps it was Rickman.

Suspense factor really didn’t come into play. Early on you decided that David was attempting to drive Alexis crazy (she had a breakdown previously -–surprise). Then, again, you also thought that Alexis was trying to get David out of her life. Where the young man came into play was anybody’s guess, but he was a convenient interlude for the wanting Alexis.

As an examination of marriage on the rocks, you definitely pick up the tension, but because of Rickman’s lackluster performance you lose what little atmospheric psychosexual dynamics this movie could have produced. I wasn’t so disappointed that I won’t recommend this, because I liked the quirky ending and I’m a sucker for quirky.

Dark Harbor was nominated for the Golden Starfish Award, Hamptons International Film Festival, 1999, for Best American Independent Film (Adam Coleman Howard). Written by Adam Coleman Howard and Justin Lazard, directed by Adam Coleman Howard.

Stars Alan Rickman, Polly Walker, Norman Reedus, Lewis Fladd, Sasha Lazard (nepotism), and Janet Mecca.


The Oracle says: Sasha Lazard has a Bacon number of 3.
Sasha Lazard was in Dark Harbor (1999) with Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus was in Beat (2000) with Courtney Love
Courtney Love was in 24 Hours (2002/I) with Kevin Bacon

Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


A wealthy married couple travelling to an island vacation home off the coast of Maine stop to help an injured young man lying by the side of the road. A series of coincidences lands the stranger together with the couple in their isolated retreat for the entire weekend. A forbidden sexual attraction leads to a deceptive love triangle laced with fear and betrayal. Nothing is quite what it seems in this dark sexual thriller.
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Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Artisan Entertainment (April 11, 2000)
Runtime: 1hr 29min
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