The Dark Tower

Film, Fantasy
2 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
The Dark Tower

Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star in a pedestrian adaptation of a Stephen King fantasy

With the eight-book ‘Dark Tower’ series, Stephen King created his own ‘Lord of the Rings’: an epic, sprawling dark-fantasy saga that for years seemed unfilmable. That suspicion is now confirmed by this weak supernatural stew, which eliminates much of the author’s imaginative myth-making. On screen, ‘The Dark Tower’ serves up a generic, half-baked scenario no different to a slew of YA films in which young, wide-eyed protagonists discover their connections to a hidden fantastical world.

The rich narrative tapestry that King wove over the course of his novels has been reduced to a plot (credited to four screenwriters, including director Nikolaj Arcel) that could have been written on a napkin over lunch. Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a creative 11-year-old New Yorker who’s been doing drawings of his recurring visions of a parallel universe in which a gunslinger, Roland (Idris Elba), pursues a demonic, black-clad sorcerer named Walter (Matthew McConaughey). Once Jake finds his way into Roland’s realm, the gunslinger reluctantly takes the boy under his wing and they travel through assorted alternate dimensions, with Walter on their tail, because Jake is the key to a vague apocalyptic scheme.

Attempts by Elba and McConaughey to, respectively, lend gravity and menace are choked off by their roles’ simplistic characterisations and, in Elba’s case, some very awkward fish-out-of-water gags when Roland hits Manhattan. The film is not poorly made. Its production values are suitably lush and the score by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) is appropriately dramatic. But any fan of King’s novels will be distressed at the way his material – on its tortuous journey to the screen – has been blandified and sanded down. Even if you’re unfamiliar with those adventures, you’ll still find much of ‘The Dark Tower’ awfully familiar – when you’re not being thrown off by the haphazard storytelling and its malleable rules. Don’t worry, though. One day, surely, a filmmaker will try again. 


By: Michael Gingold


Release details

Release date: Friday August 18 2017
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Cast: Idris Elba
Matthew McConaughey
Abbey Lee
Tom Taylor

Average User Rating

1.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:2
2 people listening

Honestly.. I expected a lot more from this movie. I got way less than I deserved.

The action scenes and graphics were good but the storyline lacked so much I couldn't grasp it. It wasn't great.not great at all


Very poor film, and it’s sad to see big Hollywood starts like Matthew McConaugahey or Idris Elba being part of this.

Skip it if you can.


Having recently re-read the first novel, I was excited to see this adaptation. Off I went with my limitless card in hand, only to wish I hadn't bothered. It was dull, boring and so lifeless that it was almost too hard to watch. Matthew McConaughey seemed ridiculous, almost laughable as the man in black. Idris Elba was a very believable Roland and the only part of the film I enjoyed.

King so delicately and carefully wove a tale that drew you in, this film had none of that. Don't bother with this one...even if you have all you can eat's that bad.


An adaptation of the book series written by Stephen King, The Dark Tower promised to be pretty epic…..

But that’s all it did – it promised. It didn’t deliver.

Long story short, The Gunslinger – aka Roland (Idris Elba), had to stop the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from toppling The Dark Tower – a tower which is the key to holding the universe together – so, you know…fairly important!

Young Jake Chambers keeps having nightmares about these bad people trying to topple the tower, but no-one believes him that all of this is real, and not just a dream.

I’m going to put in some spoilers now, because, to be honest, the film isn’t worth seeing, so by reading my spoilers, I’m saving you £13 on a cinema ticket.

  • Baddies came to Jake’s house to take him to a ‘special school’ – but Jake knew they were bad, so escaped through the bathroom window, and found a house from his dreams.
  • In this house, there was a portal to other worlds, where Jake managed to get away from Keystone Earth (just ‘earth’, to us mortals), and find Roland. Together, they set out to stop the Man in Black from his evil plot.
  • Jake and Roland’s relationship was pretty cute, and there is a very funny scene in a hospital – this is the only part of the whole film that I properly remember.
  • Long story short, Jake has these powers, which are so strong, that he and Roland mange to defeat the Man in Black, and ultimately save the world.

I love Idris Elba, truly, I do. He was amazing in Luther, and most other things he’s been in…. but he needs to stick to films where he can have a British accent, because his American accent in this film was not good.

Overall, don’t go to the cinema to see this – wait and see it when it’s on TV (if there’s nothing else to watch!).