Dark City

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a_Darkcity.gif

They built the city to see what makes us tick. Last night one of us went off.

1998

Genres:
Sci-Fi, Mystery

Starring:
Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, Keifer Sutherland, Richard O'Brien

Summary:
Awakened in a strange hotel with no memories and an unknown past, John Murdoch (Sewell) finds that he is wanted for a number of horrific murders. While trying to recover his past through odd flashing memories of his wife and former life, Murdoch stumbles onto a frightening group of beings known as The Strangers.

The Strangers are actually part of a telekinetic alien race that are dying for unknown reasons. They believe that the key to their survival lies in defining and harnessing the human spirit. With the reluctant aid of Dr. Schreber (Sutherland), the Strangers run an elaborate experiment that allows them to erase and form memories and shift the city layout every night.

Frantically searching for the truth and trying to convince the oblivious Anna (Connelly) of their peril, Murdoch finds himself face to face with a shocking reality he might have rather left uncovered.

Response:
If you enjoyed The Matrix or The Thirteenth Floor, Dark City is not to be missed. This movie also questions reality and makes the concrete surreal. However, it is anything but a copycat (it came out before the other movies by the way). It is almost more film-noir than anything else, with a setting similar to 1940s America. The perpetual dark and fog add an essential aura of mystique while the costumes and props resonate with that era. Dark City drips with mood.

What makes the movie really trippy is the injection of a pure sci-fi element. You end up with pale bald aliens in black trenchcoats in the middle of a misty 1940s night, and it all seems to go together. It might sound like a cheesy far-fetched premise, but this movie manages to seamlessly merge film noir and sci-fi.

The performances are good, and Sewell and Connelly both project a lot of confused expressions (hell, I guess I would too in their situation). The scene stealer, though, definitely has to be Keifer in his odd role as a crippled and possibly malevolent doctor.

The ending is great and doesn't back down. I expected the movie not to show the city in its entirety and truth, but it delivers some true sci-fi panoramic shots. An original mystery and sci-fi flick in one, Dark City is not to be missed.

Point Blank: The best blend of film-noir and sci-fi I've ever seen. Ok, so it's the only blend of film-noir and sci-fi I've ever seen. But it's still brilliant.