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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is probably a love it or hate it film
"Day Night Day Night" seems the sort of movie that will polarize viewers. Some will love it while others will find it unbearable. I'm in the former group. The plot, alas, has been inaccurately described here by another viewer. Unfortunately, I cannot correct the error since doing so would reveal a major spoiler. I'll cite the relevant plot points.

A young...
Published on March 10, 2008 by P. Mann

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i wanted to like this movie
as my heading says i wanted to like this movie. i read the description and i thought it sounded good, however upon watching it it seems that the director had to fill time. i mean at least 30 minutes of this film is boring. let's watch her bathe, shave, eat, cut toenails and fingernails. i'm serious. then you get to the plot which is somewhat interesting but, your left...
Published on December 27, 2008 by robert davis


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is probably a love it or hate it film, March 10, 2008
By 
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
"Day Night Day Night" seems the sort of movie that will polarize viewers. Some will love it while others will find it unbearable. I'm in the former group. The plot, alas, has been inaccurately described here by another viewer. Unfortunately, I cannot correct the error since doing so would reveal a major spoiler. I'll cite the relevant plot points.

A young woman, superbly portrayed by Luisa Williams (Chacun Son Cinéma), arrives in an American city and is picked up by a man who takes her to a hotel. She is soon visited by three men, who prepare her to be a suicide bomber. The remainder of the film deals with the woman's quest.

Describing the plot, however, is grossly insufficient. "Day Night Day Night" is an extremely slow movie, and that slowness is a huge part of the point. The camera lingers on the woman as she clips her toenails, washes her clothing in the hotel sink, or shaves her armpits. At other points, the filmmakers elevate certain sounds, especially the sounds of the woman's eating and of ambient conversations. It certainly would be possible to fast-forward through some of these spots without losing any sense of what happens, but to do so would be, I believe, to miss the point.

That point, as I understand it, is that the woman is human. Yes, she is planning a murderous act, but she is also human. Her target, we know, is an American city, but we do not know why. As she prepares for her attack, she does the thoroughly normal things that we all do. She bathes, turns on lights in her hotel room, and performs other mundane tasks. She is, it seems, the antithesis of Robert DeNiro's Travis Bickle (from Taxi Driver). And yet she seems so calmly prepared for her mission. (Here, comparisons to Camus's Mersault in The Stranger are apt.) It is the utter calmness (and the civility she and her trainers show) that are the point.

Finally, I would be remiss were I to allow Luisa Williams's performance to pass without further comment. There are almost no characters other than the woman who have both lines and their faces on screen. That leaves Williams to carry the film. Her job is further complicated by the fact that she has very few lines for someone who is onscreen for almost every minute of the film. Those lines that she does have are banal. There's no "Make my day" or even "Rosebud" here. Nobody is going to quote lines from this movie. Nonetheless, Williams delivers an astonishingly powerful performance, expressing volumes without speaking. Her understated performance alone earns this movie a fifth star from me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Portrait in Hopelessness, October 25, 2007
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
In Albert Camus's famous novel, `The Stranger,' the protagonist smokes a cigarette before he is executed and brusquely passes off any attempts to distract him from his last little experience of pleasure. That scene came to my mind while watching Julia Lokler's myopic little gem, `Day Night Day Night'. So it doesn't surprise me that, while glancing at the product description afterwards, the movie is described as an award-winning "existential" movie.

Throughout her film, she uniquely turns up the sound in the scenes that lead to the film's confrontation and climax. Whether bathing or eating an apple, we hear the volume turned up to a remarkable degree. At first I naively thought that this was random. Alternately, it either irritated me or unintentionally made me laugh, but I soon discovered the movie's genius. Generically named, "She" (Luisa Williams), is trained to be a terrorist. At the tender age of 19, she is presented merely as a child, someone who is a molded "jihadist" ready to die for her cause. Sent to a motel room in New Jersey, she is prepared with every detail by her adult comrades who ready her with a bomb attached in her backpack, soon to be sent to blow up civilians in Times Square in New York City.

We aren't given too much about her intentions or motivations, but it is revealed that both parents have died, and she is left like a vulnerable child. Some of the indoctrination reminded me of the Patty Hearst controversy; even though I reserve judgment for that whole debacle. "She" is certainly younger and more impressionable than Hearst possibly was, but her isolation is clearly presented. What better way to show a potential casualty of terror than with a needy orphan? The volume is turned up in more ways than one as we come upon a martyr candidate who draws her inspiration from a desperate hopelessness.

There's one scene in the movie that I found particularly cogent. As she walks through the streets of Time's Square, she comes across a street vendor selling toy, mechanical puppies. She tenderly pets one of the stuffed toys, which moves across the sidewalk in programmed fashion. I kept thinking also of a prominent news magazine portrait of a Palestinian girl who made herself a walking time bomb, waiting to destroy and maim her Israeli neighbors.

`Day Night Day Night' is an unsettling movie that gets it right in sociology, psychology, and extrapolation as a plausible nightmare that could happen just about any where and at any time by someone who dates despair in an unsettling way. Potentially unnerving and depressing, the movie has the redeeming quality of having the audience cling to all forms of hope found at one's disposal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i wanted to like this movie, December 27, 2008
By 
robert davis (port richey, florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
as my heading says i wanted to like this movie. i read the description and i thought it sounded good, however upon watching it it seems that the director had to fill time. i mean at least 30 minutes of this film is boring. let's watch her bathe, shave, eat, cut toenails and fingernails. i'm serious. then you get to the plot which is somewhat interesting but, your left with the worst ending in cinema history. no explination, no resolution, and let's be honest did the makers just run out of film. i mean there is really no ending. maybe i'm missing the point but this film could have been great but instead pass it by. at least i saw it on the sundance channel rather than paying for it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an astonishing work of art, July 28, 2008
By 
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
****1/2

When Hannah Arendt coined the expression "the banality of evil," surely she must have had something like "Day Night Day Night" in mind. With chilling detachment, this brilliant and terrifying film chronicles the last 48 hours in the life of a potential suicide bomber. It is a topic rife with all sorts of potential pitfalls, both political and cinematic, yet the movie succeeds as a work of art because it never resorts to sensationalism or exploitation to get its point across.

Filmmaker Julia Loktey has deliberately eliminated any back story that might explain why a beautiful young girl like "Leah" would be willing to perform an action as inconceivable and incomprehensible as the one she has planned here. The whys and the wherefores are really of little concern to Loktey. Instead, she has chosen to concentrate on the almost strikingly banal, step-by-step process "Leah" must go through to complete the deed. Indeed, it's amazing how, through context alone, even the most mundane of actions - brushing one's teeth, taking a bath, clipping one's toenails - can suddenly become imbued with the most terrifying significance and sense of foreboding. It's almost as if "Leah" is trying to hold onto a sense of normalcy for as long as she can, savoring the minor pleasures of life that she knows she will never experience again. In fact, in the stunning final half hour of the film, as "Leah" roams around the streets of New York City trying to summon up the courage to fulfill her mission, she begins to cling more and more to the simple joys of life - a mustard-covered pretzel, a candy apple - before taking that final plunge into the abyss. What's particularly disturbing is how unfailingly sweet and polite "Leah" is to the people around her - be they the common pedestrians or storekeepers who could easily become her victims, or the masked men who calmly, almost apologetically, feed her instructions on what she is to do when the fateful moment arrives. The scene in which they dress "Leah" up in terrorist garb and methodically "direct" her for a video that will be released after her death is one of the most chilling in the entire film.

Luisa Williams, who is never off camera for a single moment in the film, delivers an astonishing tour-de-force performance that is guaranteed to leave the audience stunned into silence. With very little in the way of dialogue to work with, Williams is forced to rely almost exclusively on facial expression and body language to convey a wealth of emotion. The incongruity between the character's sweet personality and demeanor and the horrific act of violence she is about to commit throws us completely off balance and makes us call into question our own perception of the world and the way it works.

Loktey employs documentary-style realism to tell her story, using her camera to record, almost as a dispassionate observer, the events as they unfold in the course of that 48-hour period.

"Day Night Day Night" contains more nerve-wracking suspense than a boatload of standard thrillers, yet it is a suspense that is honestly earned, for Loktey never stoops to implausible timing or hokey contrivance to create her effect. This is the stuff of real life - with all its attendant unpredictability and ironies - unfolding before us. We are forever focused on this young lady, who remains a fascinating and terrifying enigma throughout the entire hour-and-a-half that we spend with her.

Stated simply, "Day Night Day Night" is one of the most riveting and important releases of 2007.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I want my 94 minutes back, July 26, 2008
By 
Enrique Torres "Rico" (San Diegotitlan, Califas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
I had high hopes for this movie, considering it was a 2007 Independent Spirit Awards nominee; it didn't win and maybe I should have known then that the movie was a close but no cigar film. I was ready for something gripping, intense, edge-of-your-seat type portrayl of someone about to commit an act of terrorism. Instead I was bored with the tedium, over extended scenes where the point is made, again and again and again, I might as well throw in one more again just to emphasize the point; just in case you didn't get it. One such scene was where the fellow hooded terrorists have her repeat her new identity over and over for what seems like fifteen minutes but was probably more like five at the most. Other examples of this tedious attention to detail were the scenes when she is eating. Seriously I do not need to see every little bite. Now let's talk about the sondtrack. Am I boring you? Sorry, I am just trying to convey some of the feel of the movie, booooooring. Oh yeah ,the soundtrack; there is none except raw sounds of Times Square and mumble jumbo hotel talk that is hard at times to understand because of the accoustics of the "reality" sound. The first half of the movie, while she is preparing for her mission, is a snorefest. It only livens up somewhat when she hits Times Square and you hear distant conversations, blaring horns etc. In spite of the ordeal she is involved in their is very little tension felt by the audience, well, at least not by my wife and I. The tension is created by the sound of humanity on Times Square. Maybe I missed something intellectually in this movie but I was very dissapointed. A previous reviewer staed that you will either love or hate this movie. Count me on the hated it side.I don't usually feel this way but at the end of the movie I wanted my lost 94 minutes of life back. Good luck with this "existential" indie flick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I've Ever Seen, June 19, 2011
By 
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
Came across this film on Netflix and was completely blown away with it! Wow. First, kudos to the director who didn't junk this movie up with a bad soundtrack. She, like Hitchcock, opts for very long takes and isn't afraid to use silence to the plot's betterment. The tale unravels slowly and methodically in detailing the last two days in a wannabe suicide bomber's life. Luisa Williams is excellent in the lead role. She's in every scene and carries the film so well. We see her shower, clip her toenails, brush her teeth - the mundane things of life, proving so ironic since she plans to be dead within 48 hours. The film's ambiguous ending is reminiscent of many foreign films - the viewer is left guessing what happens next. In the hands of a "commercial" American director the plot would end up in a nicely tied bow with loud music played over the credits, not like here.

I can't recommend this film (and filmaker) enough. I watch tons of movies, but was literally on the edge of my seat at the climax.

If you like loud, overproduced and directed films, "Day Night Day Night" is not for you.

If you like thoughtful, meditative ones that take chances, buy (don't rent!) this film.
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1.0 out of 5 stars pretentious, boring waste of time., August 25, 2010
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This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
This is a movie that really peaked my interest when I stumbled on the reviews. Along with the good, I also read the bad and decided to give it a try. I enjoy thoughtful movies and don't need a "action" driven plot stimulate me. I am a patient viewer if the payoff is worth it.

The idea is great. Tracking someone who has decided to end their life in such a dramatic fashion, that's great stuff. Director Julia Loktev, in an interview I found, said this was inspired by a true story of a girl whom stopped at a fruit stand and bought bananas before she blew herself up. This story, according to Loktev, was "about the bananas". Doesn't that sound great? What is knowing death is imminent like? Would we crack up or cling to little things in our last moments?

Apparently for the girl in this story it isn't interesting. Shes nervous. She stops and eats a lot. Loktev makes a mistake by giving her ambiguous reasons for her death. The lack of explanation, which at first intrigued me, ultimately leaves the viewer wondering why they should care. Why lock us out? Let us feel something be it sympathy or hate. In a movie like this, with little going on, its important to have a character accessible to the audience. This girl doesn't mean any more to you after the movie than she did before.

The preparation scenes are ok.....after that, zero character development, minimal interaction, a total lack of plot direction, and a non ending of epic proportions. The overall feeling after viewing is that while the director had a great idea, by playing it safe she negated anything that would have made the story interesting.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Do The Times Square Bop, September 14, 2010
By 
Cinesnob (Big Bear Lake, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
Not unlike San Diego Rico, I was ready for a thoughtful post-9/11; post-modern work of indie art. But, my dear friends, I didn't have any luck with this one on Sundance Channel. I only felt sorry and, then after a short time, irritated with the less than attractive Luisa Williams, who could easily pass for Rita Tushingham's American-born granddaughter. I kept wishing our blue-jacketed suicide bomber would push downwards on that detonator button and end it all. How about a nice surrealistic Antonioni ending! Or maybe she might meet and fall in love with a Black British Merchant Marine cook, sporting a Liverpuddlian accent--up on 57 & Broadway. Or maybe (just maybe) she might bump into Yoko, who would softly whisper into her ear, "Give peace a chance..." Anything! But instead she kept wandering around Times Square with her haunted eyes gazing sadly @ the cold/cruel world for one last time--again & again--all the while chowing-down junk food, in search of that illusive taste of honey. Eventually I went on-line, discovered how DNDN would mercifully end. Then--unlike Miss Williams--I pushed the button on the remote...ending it all!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Bad remake..., January 3, 2011
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
This is so bad I can't even go into it. Essentially, a politically correct take on terrorism through the eyes of an 8-year-old. But what I really wanted to say is that there's a movie from 1999 called THE TERRORIST that had the same basic idea, only it is gritty, believable, and poignant. It really seems like the director of DNDN tried to remake that film and failed miserably.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, Artsy and Safe, July 29, 2013
By 
William McNeill (Austin, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Day Night Day Night (DVD)
Though nominally a portrait of a suicide bomber, "Day Night Day Night" is actually a formal exercise that uses the drama inherent in terrorism to keep it from being something that might loop in the corner of an art gallery. Luisa Williams plays an unnamed timid young woman who spends the first half of the movie in a nondescript hotel room following the orders of masked handlers who blindfold her and grill her on a new identity. Their domination is eerily soft-spoken and matter-of-fact, but since Williams' character begins the movie utterly compliant it seems unnecessary. (The first third of the stylistically similar "Upstream Color" goes more interesting places with a similar premise.) Then she is dropped in the middle of Manhattan with a bomb, and we spend the rest of the movie watching her wander around Times Square, wondering if she'll detonate it. Because "Day Night Day Night" has already signaled that it is a mood piece rather than a thriller, this generates very little tension. Williams is a cipher, and she and the other terrorists are all Americans with no discernible politics or emotions, so things feel pretty safe. "Day Night Day Night" is "Waiting for Godot" with no jokes and a backpack full of nails.

How much you enjoy "Day Night Day Night" depends on what you think of it as a formal exercise, and on that front it's not bad. The claustrophobia and near silence of the first half contrasts effectively with the noisy bustle of the second. The film is mostly just a catalog of mundane details of hotel rooms and city streets, where the theoretical imminence of death gives everything an extra kick. This is cheating, but works anyway. If nothing else the film is a thorough document of what midtown Manhattan looks and sounds like at this point in time. Along the way it raises some interesting questions of mechanics--do suicide bombers dawdle, do they go on junk food binges because why not?--and makes gestures towards being a portrait of New York street life. But aside from one sequence seemingly spliced in from a better movie in which a young guy Williams bumps into starts putting the moves on her, the crowds remain faceless, and an 11th hour attempt at psychological development for Williams' character simply doesn't make sense. As artful depictions of stasis go, "Day Night Day Night" is well-executed, but it doesn't aim any higher than that.
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Day Night Day Night
Day Night Day Night by Julia Loktev (DVD - 2007)
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