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Darkman Universal Pictures, 1990 Created and Directed by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead trilogy, Drag Me to Hell) Running Time: 96 minutes Rated R for graphic violence, profanity and mature situations. Cast Liam Neeson (Gawain in Excalibur, Kegan in Krull) as Dr. Peyton Westlake/Darkman Frances McDormand (Marge in Fargo, Handler in Aeon Flux) as Julie Hastings Colin Friels as Louis Strack, Jr. Larry Drake (Stulwicz in L.A. Law) as Robert G. Durant Bruce Campbell (because a Sam Raimi movie wouldn't be one without him) "What is it about the dark? What secret does it hold?" Synopsis Dr. Peyton Westlake is a scientist working on artificial skin technology to aid burn victims. Unfortunately, his creation is marred by the skin's molecular instability, which causes it to disintegrate within 99 minutes of direct light. His girlfriend, attorney Julie Hastings, stumbles upon a bribery scandal between construction tycoon Louis Strack, Jr. and mob boss Robert G. Durant. Searching for the bribery evidence, Durant and his men storm into Westlake's laboratory, killing Westlake's assistant and blowing up the lab. The explosion does not kill Westlake, but renders him physically disfigured. After being recovered by a local hospital, he is subjected to a treatment where his neural system is altered. Feeling no physical pain at all, the rage in his body results in an irregular flow of adrenalin and increases his physical abilities; yet adversely affects his mental state. After escaping from the hospital, Westlake salvages his laboratory equipment and moves into an abandoned factory to continue his experiments on artificial skin. Seeking revenge on those who scarred him for life, he becomes a master of disguise, using his artificial skin technology to masquerade as his enemies and destroy them. "Take the f*cking elephant!" Lowdown When Sam Raimi was unable to secure the rights to make film adaptations of The Shadow and Batman, he decided to make a superhero film of his own. Drawing inspiration from The Phantom of the Opera and The Elephant Man, as well as the classic Universal Pictures horror films of the '30s and '40s, Raimi came up with what would become nothing short of a masterpiece. Darkman combines superhero elements with Film Noir and Hitchcock-style suspense, combined with an excellent cast and outstanding makeup effects. Liam Neeson delivers a breakthrough performance as the tragic hero who has to deal with the horrors of his past to avenge himself and make his enemies feel his wrath. It's fundamentally twisted and uniquely provocative. Adding to the grim atmosphere is a haunting orchestral score by Danny Elfman (Dick Tracy, Beetlejuice). Not as epic as Batman, but still effective at keeping the viewers hooked. Overall, Darkman is one of the best superhero films ever made. Hell, to a certain extent, it's even better than Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Just make sure to ignore the direct-to-video sequels, though. Rating: A "I'm everyone - and no one. Everywhere - nowhere. Call me...Darkman." References The Internet Movie Database