Kernel Blake reviews his favourite movie of the year haha. OK – kidding – his razzie of the year perhaps. Sadly THE DARK TOWER has been in production hell on and off for years with more people in line for the lead role over the years than people who have played James Bond. For a while there J.J. Abrams was making this after LOST, then Ron Howard was attached to helm and so on. Well it is finally out now from the folks at Sony Pictures Releasing. It is rated M and runs for 95mins. If you need someone to see it with get in touch with Blake – I think he wants to see it again. All the best…….Salty.


The Dark Tower Tom Taylor image
Jake (Tom Taylor)



I’ve been sitting here looking at the cursor blinking on my screen for a full ten minutes, honestly struggling with what I’m going to tell you about THE DARK TOWER. To put it bluntly, I wasted ninety minutes of my life watching it and I don’t feel like wasting any more of my life writing about it. It’s bad. Very bad. Very very bad.

Full disclosure, I have never read the series of Stephen King books this film is based on. I’ve barely read any King books and have only seen a handful of films adapted from his work. To me THE SHINING is a masterpiece and CHRISTINE scared the crap out of me as a kid. THE DARK TOWER has been in development hell for years, with no one seemingly able to crack it. It should’ve stayed there.


The Dark Tower Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey image
Roland (Idris Elba) and Walter (Matthew McConaughey)



The titular tower in THE DARK TOWER is the centre of the universe and possesses power that protects us from the evil that lurks beyond the universe. For…reasons…the only way the Tower can be destroyed is via the mind of a child. Walter aka The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), a wizardy sorcerer person (who wears black) is hellbent on brining the tower down and unleashes hellish beasties into the universe.

A lone Gunslinger, Roland (Idris Elba), is the sworn protector of the universe against threats such as these. When a young child from New York, Jake (Tom Taylor) starts having dreams of the Tower after his fathers’ death, he is dragged into the world of this eternal battle. Jake has a ‘shine’ or psychic powers and believed, by Walter, to be the child strong enough to bring down the tower. Yes, I said shine. One of many not-so-subtle nods to Stephen King’s work spread throughout the film.

The time it took you to read the two previous paragraphs is about how long THE DARK TOWER spends on plot and world building. Scenes are stripped of all but barely necessary exposition before heading to the next scene. Characters are introduced and just as quickly forgotten about, with glaringly obvious cuts made to certain acts and set pieces. This thing has been edited to death and is the worse for it.


The Dark Tower Idris Elba and Tom Taylor image
Roland (Idris Elba) and Jake (Tom Taylor)



Any film that casts Idris Elba automatically gains an extra star to its rating. Even though he gives Roland a little depth and heart, along with some rare, cool action scenes, his Gunslinger can’t do enough to lift THE DARK TOWER above awful. McConaughey seems to have known from the start that this film was a stinker, hamming it up as much as possible and generally looking like he’d rather be somewhere else. Newcomer Tom Taylor is serviceable as the psychic youngster but again, with little to no character development, you just don’t care about him.

Much of the blame must lay at the pen of screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, the hack for hire in Hollywood. Responsible for absolute turdfests, such as BATMAN & ROBIN and THE DaVINCI CODE, his screenplay is terrible with otherworldly characters and places introduced with no explanation as to who they are or why they’re there and graces THE DARK TOWER with a plot of little coherence.

Director Nikolaj Arcel has some minor flourishes with the inventive way the Gunslinger reloads his six shooters, but apart from that, action scenes are jumpy and muddled with no flow or coherence and THE DARK TOWER, as a whole, looks flat and uninspired.


The Dark Tower Idris Elba image
Roland (Idris Elba)



I feel I’ve spent more time on this review than anyone did on THE DARK TOWER, so I’ll wrap up. This is a stinker. Easily at the top of the list for the worst films of 2017. As I haven’t read the books I can’t be angry about if this film stuck to the source material or not, but even so, a bad film is a bad film.

THE DARK TOWER is a dull, lifeless mess, spend your money on something else. Anything else. I did mention earlier that the inclusion Idris Elba automatically makes a film gain a star in the ratings, so….





Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.