‘Dark Night’ movie based on Aurora theater mass shooting sparks stirring reaction

AURORA, Colo. -- The movie “Dark Night” is set to premier Feb. 3 in New York. It is described as “loosely based” on the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora theater, and has caused a stirring reaction from many in Colorado.

Several people have said the movie is “senseless and too soon.” But one of the victim’s fathers said the conversation needs to be had.

“There are things that some people need to see,” Tom Sullivan said. “If we’re going to get any change, if we’re going to stand up and say this is the last time that something like this happens then you actually need to see it. You need to understand what maybe led up to it.”

Sullivan’s son, Alex, was one of the 12 people killed July 20, 2012. It was Alex's 27th birthday.

“Whatever you think the loss of a child feels like, it’s 10, 100, 1,000 times worse than what you think it is,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan pointed out that each person chooses a different way to cope with loss. Some prefer not to talk, or even think, about the tragedy. While others, like Sullivan, want to start a conversation.

“Maybe there is something in (the movie) that someone sees, and they see it in a friend of theirs,” he said. “People have a difficult time talking to us because they don’t know how. Maybe there’s a way in (the movie) to figure out a way to talk to people who have dealt with this.”

Sullivan, who campaigned and fell short of representing for Colorado Senate District 27, hopes the focus on gun violence will be delivered through the film. And he hopes it can start a conversation for those who need it.

“If it helps somebody start a conversation, see something in somebody else, then what they need to do is take action,” he said. “That’s what they need to do.”

"Dark Night" director Tim Sutton issued a statement on the film.

"With great respect and humility to any and all people directly affected by gun violence in Aurora or any other tragic act of gun violence in this country in recent years: Dark Night is an observational, fictional film meant to serve as a living document of our times, as well as an alternative, artistic voice in the conversation on gun violence in America. It is a thoughtful and challenging exploration of the state of our culture through cinema. If it offends anyone, then I apologize from the bottom of my heart. Yet I humbly stand by the film and the people who worked passionately to bring it to the screen. As the film was made in hopes of fostering a continuous dialogue around the issue of gun violence and the fragility of life, the filmmakers welcome any questions and feedback from concerned viewers."

"Dark Night" is also set to play in Los Angeles before a national rollout.