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Dark City (1998)

Cast: Rufus Sewell, Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, more...
Director: Alex Proyas, Alex Proyas
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Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Cult, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction , Suspense/Thriller, Aliens, Film Noir, Neo Noir, Neo Noir, Fantasy, Cyberpunk
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Alex Proyas (The Crow) directed this noir-styled futuristic thriller, scripted by Proyas, Lem Dobbs (Kafka), and David S. Goyer (The Puppet Masters). Separated from his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly), amnesiac John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) awakens alone in a strange hotel to learn he is wanted for a series of brutal killings -- but he can't remember if he did or didn't commit these murders. Indeed, most of his memories have completely vanished, and he becomes the focus of interest for both mad genius Dr. Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland) and sympathetic detective Frank Bumstead (William Hurt). Attempting to unravel the twisted riddle of his identity, Murdoch encounters a group of ominous beings known as the Strangers, shadow-like figures who have a collective memory and possess the ability to stop time and alter physical reality through a process called The Tuning. Focusing their minds, they are able to change the size and shape of the material world. Murdoch manages to stay a step ahead of his adversaries as he slowly jigsaws together the puzzle of his past-bittersweet memories of his childhood, his love for Emma, and the key to the murders -- while following a labyrinth leading to the Strangers' Underworld, a set inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Rufus Sewell commented on the Underworld: "When Alex first sent me the sketches for that set, I was more excited than I had been when I read the script. The Underworld was truly remarkable -- a little bit scary, very thrilling, and full of hundreds of bald people." At the Fox Film Studios in Sydney, Australia, where 50 sets were built, three months were spent constructing the set for the Underworld, the largest indoor set ever built in Australia. The production design by George Liddle (Rapa Nui) and Patrick Tatopoulos (Godzilla, Space: Above and Beyond) is a composite of different styles and eras, combining the look of 1940s Manhattan with German Expressionism. The music is by Trevor Jones (G.I. Jane). The film's dedication reads: "In Memory of Dennis Potter with gratitude and admiration." ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Better than most by MDeMars January 23, 2006 - 12:08 PM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Not the best Sci-fi I've seen, but not the worst. The cast was good. ***SPOILER ALERT***

I was surprised that William Hurt's character gets killed off. Not a big fan of Keifer Sutherland, but I liked him in the role of the doctor. Richard O'Brien was great as Mister Hand. The visual effects were interesting as the city was constantly reshaped. A lot of people say that it's a Metropolis ripoff, but I disagree. Yes, it has a dark and grim feel and look to it. But, the story has no real similarity to Metropolis. If you want to compare, I would say that it's closer to Invasion of The Body Snatchers or Invaders From Mars. I'm surprised that this film was not as well received when it was originally released.

Poor Example of a Poor Genre by JMVerville December 14, 2004 - 3:01 PM PST
4 out of 15 members found this review helpful
As far as 'interesting,' 'intriguing,' and 'mysterious' go this film seemed to miss them all. It attempted to be mysterious by making up bizarre occurrences along the way, culminating in, essentially, nothing.

It was more of a glorification of one, single, solitary human character who, for some unknown reason, was chosen by fate (seemingly) to bring down an evil system that you progressively learn more and more about throughout the course of a film. For a style of film, it is not a very good style; and for execution of this style, it is not a very good film. It is often overly dark and cold without any purpose. It is often an exercise in futility by Proyas to get the viewer to feel something.

People consider it philosophical, deep, thrilling, etc. but I find it to be none of the above. Occasionally, a film that is pretty to look at, it is just one of the poorer examples of its genre: a parade of dark-looking figures in a gloomy world with the hope of humanity hinged on a man endowed with special abilities. Naturally, I do not have to tell you how the film ends for you to accurately predict it. And naturally, I do not have to hint at how overdone of a genre it is, and how disappointing it is when push comes to shove.

You will find that this film is long-winded and tries to be psychological & philosophical but would only convince me that Mr. Proyas is not a very good director. Do not bother watching this film.

This movie stinks! by DZermeno September 22, 2004 - 5:04 PM PDT
0 out of 24 members found this review helpful
I saw this movie when it first came out and it was the worst movie I ever saw! I am so amazed that people think this movie was so great! I have never seen so many people walk out of a movie theater. If you want to sleep or roll your eyes in disgust.. rent this one!

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.06)
759 Votes
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