Dark City (1998)

R   |    |  Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi


Dark City (1998) Poster

A man struggles with memories of his past, which include a wife he cannot remember and a nightmarish world no one else ever seems to wake up from.


7.6/10
189,914


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  • Dark City (1998)
  • Kiefer Sutherland in Dark City (1998)
  • Jennifer Connelly and Richard O'Brien in Dark City (1998)
  • Kiefer Sutherland in Dark City (1998)
  • William Hurt in Dark City (1998)
  • Rufus Sewell in Dark City (1998)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


6 February 1999 | ChoiBaby
A fantastic science-fiction masterpiece!
An absolutely brilliant and nightmarish production! DARK CITY is an enriching and surreal experience, full of beautiful images and powerful symbolism.

John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes up one night, resting inside a bathtub. He look around, realizing that he is inside a hotel room. In a state of shock, he finds a bloody corpse lying near his bed. Then...reality sinks in. He discovers an appalling revelation which he cannot accept. He is wanted for murder on six separate accounts. How does all of this fit in when he thought of himself as a completely sane person? He does not believe he was responsible for these murders, but the cops think otherwise as they chase him down... Next, a swarm of humanoid creatures known only as the "Strangers" have summon him. For unknown reasons, Murdoch happens to fit into their intricate schemes for conquest...

This is just scratching the surface of the premise for Alex Proyas' moody and engaging film, DARK CITY. DARK CITY is a very vivid film with an original concept. As the story expands and the main character must go into the heart of the matter, he learns that there's a conspiracy going on "mixing and matching" different identities together into one whole. The Strangers are the masters...the inhabitants are their puppets...and the city is their playground...

DARK CITY essentially has gorgeous photography, capturing aspects of the entire city where imagination paints the picture and provides the details. This film relies a lot on imagery and the fantastic production values are laced with a perplexing storyline that keeps the viewer's eyes glued to the screen. The eye-catching, stylish future noir designs a visionary world, evinced in the setting of the Big Apple itself, New York City during the time period of the 1940s. Dark City's visual backgrounds enliven a difficult and incomprehensible plot to comprehend and the special effects create an astounding experience, traveling into a vortex of mankind's phantasm.

DARK CITY, in addition to the superb background settings, allows for character development as well. The audiences grows greatly in a moment of eagerness as they want to determine what will happen next to the characters in this film. As always, the cast is wonderful. Rufus Sewell is excellent as John Murdoch, convincing as an ordinary man on the run from both the law and the strangers. Jennifer Connelly is sensuous and appealing as Murdoch's loving and concerned wife. William Hurt plays his cards right as a straitlaced NYPD inspector, Frank Bumstead, who keeps pursuing John Murdoch. As an eccentric psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Paul Schreber, Kiefer Sutherland conveys a confused doctor who shares a frightening connection to these Strangers.

DARK CITY is splendid viewing injected with a theme about the loss of identity and the destruction of individualism in order to create an ideal society. DARK CITY is an unforgettable, breathtaking visual experience! This film is enriched with layers of characterization, a plot where there is more than meets the eye, and venturous special effects. DARK CITY is recommended viewing with the lights out! A thoroughly cogent flick which keeps you guessing what is going on. DARK CITY is a fine treat for the eyes and mind. This is one journey where you reach the point of no return!

RATING: *** out of ****.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alex Proyas left the Stranger's reasoning behind the city and the experiment as simply "They're looking for the human soul" in order to keep an air of mystery about them. "The film was more about the impact they had as a result of that experiment on human beings, so if it begged for more answers then I always thought that was a good thing." Proyas felt leaving the audience in the dark on a lot of the what and why of the Strangers made it a much richer film. He didn't want everything answered.


Quotes

Dr. Schreber: First there was darkness. Then came the strangers. They were a race as old as time itself. They had mastered the ultimate technology. The ability to alter physical reality by will alone. They called this ability "Tuning". But they were dying. Their ...


Goofs

(at around 7 mins) The band playing in the beginning has an upright bass-player, but the sound is clearly that of an electric bass-guitar. The playing style is also not true to an upright. The sliding note might give this impression, but the other notes are simply to light-touched to be an upright.


Alternate Versions

The DVD release is slightly longer than the one on video, with more footage towards the end of the film. There are more scenes of the duel between Murdoch and Mr. Book (the scene with the lightening and huge spikes) as well as both of them ascending into the air to continue their battle. A few scenes later, when Emma gets on the bus, there is an additional shot of the bus driving away.


Soundtracks

Sway
Written by
Norman Gimbel and Pablo Beltrán Ruiz
Sung by Anita Kelsey

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Fantasy | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Details

Release Date:

27 February 1998

Language

English


Country of Origin

Australia

Filming Locations

California, USA

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,576,953 1 March 1998

Gross USA:

$14,378,331

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,200,316

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