DOXA 2019 review: Dark Suns
It’s a monumental achievement, but Dark Suns also ties the viewer in some ethical knots.
Countless thousands of people have gone missing in Mexico since the ’70s, turning up as bone fragments in mass graves or not at all, with numbers ramping up dramatically this century. The film’s six chapters correspond with locations, like Ciudad Juárez and Tamaulipas state, where the situation is especially horrific. Lawyers, activists, and grieving family members act as our guides, talking to the camera, and thereby increasing risk, in a lawless hell where drug cartels, human traffickers, cops, the army, government officials, and the U.S. border all work in grim cahoots.
Shot in luminous black-and-white and edited to perfection, this 154-minute Canadian production might be the definitive take on the subject. It’s also, give the rawness of the story, something of an aesthetic triumph. Here’s where pleasure might conflict with conscience. Then again, we’re miles out from Netflix territory, where this kind of thing is repurposed into “gripping” entertainment.