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Dark Days

4.2 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"Dark Days" is the multi-award winning documentary from Marc Singer about a community of homeless people living in a train tunnel beneath Manhattan. The film depicts a way of life that is unimaginable to most of those who walk the streets above. In the pitch black of the tunnel, rats swarm through piles of garbage as high-speed trains leaving Penn Station tear through the darkness. For some of those who have gone underground, it has been home for as long as twenty-five years. The director abandoned life on the outside to spend all of his time in the tunnels, making it his home for two years. Surprisingly entertaining and deeply moving, "Dark Days" is an eye-opening experience that shatters the myths of homelessness with the strength and universality of the people the film represents.

Special Features

  • The Making of Dark Days
  • Never-Before-Seen Footage - 15 Additional Scenes with notes by Marc Singer
  • "Life After the Tunnel" - Follow Up by Marc Singer
  • The History of the NYC Subway Tunnels

Product Details

  • Actors: Marc Singer
  • Directors: Marc Singer
  • Producers: Marc Singer, Avra Jain, Ben Freedman, Charlotte Stockdale, Christopher Griffith
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2001
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B00005NSY6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,699 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dark Days" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAME on September 11, 2004
Format: DVD
This documentary won three separate awards in the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. I can well understand why. At that time there was a whole colony of homeless people who lived underground in the subway tunnels in New York City. It was dark and damp and full of rats, but yet they preferred it to a homeless shelter. There, they erected their personal shacks and struggled for survival, venturing out to forage in garbage cans for food as well as for stuff to sell. British Producer Marc Singer was so fascinated by these people that he ventured into these tunnels and spent two years getting to know them. Eventually he wound up living with them and made this film, using the homeless people themselves as crew.

The film is unique in that it shows these homeless people as human beings and the viewer gets to know them as individuals. Yes, many of them have drug problems, but they still have lives, hopes and dreams, a tough will to survive and often a sense of humor. They manage to cook meals on makeshift stoves and there is a feeling of camaraderie among them. We also see their ingenuity with the very little they have. And realize that their days are full of hard work just to survive. The conditions they live in are absolutely squalid. But this is their home.

During the course of the film, Amtrak decided to rid the tunnels of the people and homeless advocates negotiated for them to be placed in real housing. By the end of the film we see them in real apartments. There is an upbeat quality to this ending of the film.

However, the DVD is much more than the actual film. There's a 40-minute interview with the filmmaker, Marc Singer, which is equally as fascinating as the film. I hadn't realized that he was a non-professional person who had never made a film before.
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Format: DVD
Imagine for a moment that you're a regular bloke and you want to do something to help the New York City homeless. You've got very little money, no resources, but a big heart. What could you possibly do to make a dent in their population?

If you're Marc Singer, the man behind this Sundance Award winning documentary, you found a way to do quite a lot.

For a person who'd never touched a movie camera before starting in on this "project", one can see why this film impacts its viewers on multiple levels. Shot in grainy black-and-white 16mm film, this documentary gives us a startlingly real-life look at several homeless people living in self-built shanties in the Amtrak tunnels under the city. No light makes it down there, except whenever a train skirts by or via the makeshift lighting this weird community has produced by tapping into Amtrak's electrical system.

Marc Singer delves into this society. And I mean he DELVES. Mr. Singer gave up living on the surface and slunk into this netherworld for two years in order to shoot his film. And who did he use as grips, sound assistants, and lighting experts? The homeless themselves.

More interesting than the film itself is how it got made. After watching the documentary, I went ahead and looked over the special features on the DVD and found a "Making Of" track which focused on Mr. Singer and how he accomplished his film making. This showed the incredible lack of understanding of anything related to filming and those who helped him out, both in teaching him and by giving him financial help so that the documentary made it out to the public. We also get to see the amazing multiple awards that the documentary won at Sundance; an incredible set of scenes that contrasts starkly with what Mr.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
...and finding the mundane.

I would suggest to the people that are slamming this movie that this type of flick is not your cup of tea. Go pop a Matt Damon movie in.

This is a great movie on two fronts. First of all, the camera work and editing is perfect, and secondly, it seems to me that Singer's approach to this film is to simply show the viewer that homeless people are not the paper-thin cliche's that our mind conjures up when we hear the word, but three-dimensional human beings that have the same concerns, and live the same life that any of us do.

What is so incredible about this movie is that you expect to see something truly bizarre occurring in those tunnels, and what you actually see is a group of people, doing their thing, just like anyone else. They are a diverse group, which in itself is unexpected. As the film progresses, their plywood huts really begin to seem like any other community, except in a tunnel. It's surreal.

I don't think for a second that Singer wants us to pity these people, honestly a lot of them aren't doing too bad (considering the circumstances). I think the point here is just to observe, and to see that these "freaks" are pretty much just standard-issue human beings.
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Format: DVD
One evening I was flipping through channels on the TV and came across "Dark Days" on Sundance Channel. I have not seen the DVD so I can only comment on the version that ran on Sundance. It was the most riveting documentary I have ever seen. Although it has been six months since I caught it on TV, and I haven't been able to catch a rerun since, I have not been able to forget it. I came to care about the people living in the tunnel, and when the film was over, I felt as if I had just lost touch with some friends.
What struck me about this film is that it was made on such a limited budget by people who lived in the tunnel. There were no prima-donna actors, directors and producers. As a result, the film is an honest portrayal of life under the tunnels.
There is excellent information on how the film was made at [web page], and you can also catch some samples of the haunting music from the film.
The film inspired me to learn more about the people living in the tunnels under New York. Two books I would recommend on the subject are "The Mole People" by Jennifer Toth, and "The Tunnel" by Margaret Morton.
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