Natalie Dormer, who is most known for her role as Margaery Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones, is starring in a new thriller with Emily Ratajkowski called In Darkness — and it’s being slammed by critics for having gratuitous nudity, reports Maxim. But in this film, she isn’t just an actress playing a role. Dormer also co-wrote the movie with director Anthony Byrne. In it, Dormer portrays Sofia, a blind musician who hears something from the apartment upstairs, as her neighbor Veronique, played by Ratajkowski, is tossed off the roof in an apparent murder. It propels the character into London’s gritty criminal underworld.
“The film infuses its fairly generic storyline with some audacious stylistic devices,” the Hollywood Reporter writes, “such as a sequence intercutting the ritual religious washing of Veronique’s corpse with images of Sofia showering, the latter complete with gratuitous nudity.”
Nudity isn’t the only thing that’s been taken to task by critics regarding this film. While they applauded, lightly, for the direction and Dormer’s performance, they also slammed Ratajkowski’s Eastern European accent. A critic from Rogerebert.com called the violence “sadistic,” which Dormer herself took issue with, saying in an interview she gave to The Guardian that her film is erotic, not sadistic.
“Nakedness is a good equaliser and the shower scene also shows the tattoos on my character’s body and makes it clear she is not quite who you think.”
This was a pivotal point for the film because Sofia appeared to be very vulnerable, so giving her this moment clues in the audience to the added layer of her character. Dormer and her writing partner, Byrne, were inspired by film noir of the 1940s and she was impressed by his affinity for writing strong women. They wanted to write a story about interesting human beings.
“I wanted to make this film because of the lack of rounded, flawed female characters in films.”
What she realized in making this film was the difficulty she had in doing the same for the male antagonist/love interest, and it led the actress/writer to have an epiphany about female roles in films and why they may seem to be lacking. She told The Guardian that she saw the problem more as being so in tune with your lead character, it’s hard to write the other point of view.
“So I thought, ‘Oh, all these male white heterosexual writers have not necessarily been conspiring against women, it is just they are so obsessed with the main character, that they can’t help it.'”