I've seen two rather dark movies lately that were excellent. One is No Country for Old Men, the other is Eastern Promises.
I went for a long time without seeing No Country for Old Men--it just didn't seem my cup of tea, in spite of the rave reviews it garnered everywhere. Then a good friend of mine from the old library told me to see it, so I did, and was blown away. I have no intention of watching it again--it's not Pride & Prejudice--but it sticks with me still. In the midst of its bleak imagery (the amoral hitman appears to get away, leaving a rampage of blood behind), the good characters shine brightly all the more.
Two things stick with me from that movie: the wife of the dumb and careless ranch-hand. When the hitman shows up in her home near the end of the movie, she refuses to submit to his power, thereby breaking the cycle of violence that he thrives on. The other thing is the sheriff's story of a dream he had, of his father riding ahead of him into the darkness, and how he knew that there would be a fire waiting for him, a lone point of warmth and light in the middle of a dark wilderness.
Eastern Promises is strange. A rather bleak tale of a midwife who comes against the powerful Russian mafia in London, the movie manages to make her small victory quite feasible, in the face of such mindless eye-for-an-eye violence.