The Dark Tower – Review

Worth seeing: as a dark and twisted, visually arresting sci-fi epic that has too much plot squeezed into too little time
Director:Nikolaj Arcel
Featuring:Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Abbey Lee, Dennis Haysbert, Jackie Earle Haley, Tom Taylor
Length:95 minutes
Released:18th August 2017


Based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series of books, this is the proverbial fight of good versus evil.

The last Gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) has been engaged in an eternal battle with the villainous Walter, a.k.a the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), to stop him from destroying the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together.

Meanwhile in New York, young Jake (Tom Taylor) has been having nightmares about these two men and the Man in Black’s heinous plan to bring down the tower.

Jake’s mother thinks he needs professional help, but when Jake finds a portal into this alien realm, all his fears are vindicated and he teams up with Roland to defeat the Man in Black and save both of their worlds.


For those who have not read the books this is a perfectly intriguing and entertaining blockbuster movie.

It is a wonderfully dark and twisted sci-fi-styled western, with commanding performances from Elba and McConaughey, who work wonders with the material they have been given.

The role of the lone and jaded gunslinger was made for Elba who has perfected the tortured maverick soul and made it his own. While McConaughey is scarily creepy as the alien child snatcher with magical powers who hunts down youngsters with psychic abilities and then drains them of their powers in order to destroy the tower. The kids inevitably die in the excruciatingly painful process.

As a siren rings out, the chosen youngsters make their way into the grey and imposing building (the Man in Black’s HQ), which is very reminiscent of the Eloi in H G Wells’ The Time Machine.

King’s The Dark Tower novels were inspired by the Lord of the Rings and Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and this adaptation directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel and three others certainly captures that. It is bleak and frightening yet visually arresting. Plus it is packed with hidden Easter eggs and nods to King’s other works for his ardent fans.

The problem lies in that it takes itself far too seriously and while King’s complex world of multi-universes and rich and bizarre characters are allowed to grow and breathe over the course of eight books, here all that rich and intricate story and action has to be condensed into just 95 minutes and much is inevitably lost in the process.

However Elba and McConaughey keep you invested and engaged with their powerful and riveting portrayals while relative newcomer Taylor does a phenomenal job in holding his own opposite both Hollywood stars.

While this isn’t the most memorable Stephen King film remake it certainly isn’t the worst.

By the end though, it seemed more like a great pilot for a TV series which apparently is the reported plan.