The premise of Day Night Day Night is relatively simple; a young woman decides to be a suicide bomber in Times Square. The motivations for her doing this, as in the outside forces who convince her to do it, aren’t really explained at all, so what makes it unique is that it focuses on the preparation the girl makes. She is portrayed by Luisa Williams, who appears in the film in her first role.
Written and directed by Julia Loktev (Moment of Impact), the film conveys some degree of tension and atmosphere, because you’re wondering what’s going to happen next, but the fact of the matter is that the level of activity that occurs here is almost nonexistent, and the context of the event borders on confusing. You watch the girl wait. And wait. And wait. And then her pseudo-presumably Islamic organizers who have American accents get her ready for it. Then she waits. And waits. And waits. And later on as we get closer to the actual event, she eats. And eats. And eats.
Now if there had been some sort of prologue to the reasons why she was doing this, then I could kind of understand what Loktev was trying to do. But there is very little justification in doing a film about preparation with very little activity, and to do it for ninety minutes. If there’s a message behind what’s going on, it’s that uprooting a girl into doing things that men should be doing and aren’t shows there’s a profound lack of courage in what they’re doing to this girl. But past that, Loktev does a bit with very little, and that ability should be recognized for what it is.
A stereo mix that’s pretty clear, but it’s not covering a lot of action or dialogue to begin with, so it’s fine but nothing spectacular.
1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen for the infidels to enjoy. Most of what’s done is handheld and is duplicating what you see in Times Square or in a quiet New Jersey hotel room without too much deviation.
The only extra to speak of is a commentary with Loktev. She discusses what inspired her to make the film and some of the things that occurred on the production itself. She’s pretty low key, but she does have some interesting stories to tell about the casting and other instances. She clearly knows the material well and discusses every bit of it, and it’s a pretty informative track overall. The trailer rounds things out.
Day Night Day Night might be interesting in concept, but when it comes to execution is deficient is a lot of different ways. At 98 minutes, at least 20 could have been trimmed or something could have been better done with them, and the performance is decent, as is the direction, it’s the story that is severely lacking.