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Dark Days

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 11/28/00 02:17:43

"Empty Amtrak tunnels become an underground village."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Dark Days is a documentary about an underground village of homeless people in Manhattan. An empty Amtrak tunnel became home to the homeless who went so far as to build shacks, steal electricity and even take showers under leaking water pipes.

Instead of drug addicted mole people who couldn't possibly hope to assimilate into society, most are enterprising, hard working and take as good care of themself as they can. During the filming, Amtrak forcibly removed the tenants but fortune smiled on them and with the help of an advocacy group, a few of them found real apartments in New York City and didn't even have to pay a finders fee.

Roger Ebert said this film was "riveting". It won an award at Sundance. The story told itself, someone just had the foresight to show up and film what was already happening. I can't recall ever walking past a chorus of "Spare Change" and being riveted. The obvious point was that these people without homes are not shiftless layabouts, but survivors.

I thought it was kind of punk rock to squat in a tunnel. Most of the people who lived there would rather have lived someplace else, thats for sure, but for what it was worth, it was much better than a shelter or the streets.

Score one for real life.

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