Matrix this is not...it much much better. (by Sinnerman)
I will be part of the rabid throngs of people lining up to catch a spectacle as huge as Reloaded and Revolution. Despite and maybe because of Matrix sky high hype right now, my thoughts drift back to this overlooked classic...but a little on Neo and gang first below...The Matrix just happened.With an uncanny midas touch, The Warchowski bros launched this then unknown film at the the right place, in the right time. With an execution commercial enough to bring in the box office moola and a philosophical subtext accessible enough for the general public to latch on to, the rest, as they <more>
say...is history.The philosophical under pinnings though, of blue pills, red pills, the subreality of consciousness and all that mambo jambo etc , so successfully popularised by The Matrix, was infact neither originated by The Matrix nor as fully realised than in other more accomplished works.Which leads me to....drumroll.....As such, IMHO, the best execution on the concept of reality and perception was already explored in a much more unbelievably visual opus, one year earlier, the grossly overlooked, criminally under-rated,"Dark City". One of My Top 10 All time Favourite Films This scifi/ film noir hybrid was impactful both cinematically and ideologically. Most importantly, it rewarded my wildly abandoned reach for human imagination and thirst for ideas, by fulfilling as much promise a motion picture can ever hope to give.On top of that, my background as a "trekkie" scifi nerd meant I instinctively respond to films which challenge me both intellectually and spiritually. Dark City was thus a near religious, life cleansing experience for me.And any which way I look at it, this film soars to heights unseen since 2001: A Space Odyssey...But due to its messed up or near-absent marketing campaign positioning the film to resemble a horror film for the teenage crowd , the film did not find its intended audience and flopped unceremoniously. Of course it found its audience but by then its was too late...That said, the thirst for something better than our run of the mill pop corn fare is still there, waiting to be quenched.And The Matrix filled that void.Too bad it wasn't this film. But in a ideal world, it would. Sad.
Dark City is all about a man who has incredible powers but doesn't realize it. Everyone is under the control of mysterious 'strangers' who are injecting them with false memories/altering their reality. This man Rufus Sewell finally confronts these men in a battle for the city.This is one of those films that inspires you to learn more about sci/fi. The whole movie is cold, dark and it never lights up for a minute. This movie is an underrated brilliant sci-fi film and it bares a resemblance to 'The Matrix', but was made before it, so there is no denying that Dark City must <more>
have been an inspiration for The Matrix.The story is complex but develops itself as a frequently entertaining thriller. It is thought provoking, which is a lesser thing you'll find in films today. You'll sit there thinking about life after viewing this film. It can easily been our future if we head down the road we are on.The performances are all very good, specially the three lead men. Rufus Sewell plays the confused lead, William Hurt plays the film noir detective and Kiefer Sutherland is the quirky side switching doctor. Don't forget Jennifer Connellywho plays the role with great expertise. Alex Proyas much like The Crow has created this Gothic world where the sun never rises and inhabitants live in darkness. The sets and costumes are beautiful. The acting is top-of-the-line, with Sewell in the lead part. Everyone does a great job.The villains in this film, THE STRANGERS, are creepy and will send chills down your spine every time you see them in their long black coats and hat. The costumes for them are perfect and could not have been done better, they live in the world underground and you see the different lifestyles between them and the people they control, yet live above them.The thing that amazed me the most would be the cross between the 1950 to 1980's, it was brilliant, the set pieces were perfect for this film. Every time I saw the buildings changing, I was in amazement. Everyone that took part in this film should be praised, this is a film that should get more attention from the general public, but is overshadowed by films that like to put more action then story in it's plot.
I'm not saying the acting was perfect, i'm not trying to say the story was told in the most professional way or all by rules of film-making. It wasn't at all an up-tempo film Hollywood style with lots of explosions and rapid smart dialogs.But, somehow, unlike most films with few exceptions, it had the capability of putting you in a certain mood. A mood of inconvenience, because you become one with the character John Murdoch, mostly thanks to Sewell's acting. Maybe it's because when I've seen this movie, it's always way past midnight, but I guess it's part of <more>
the ultimate experience from it.The thing is I've only felt this way about a movie once before, and unfortunately, I can't remember the title of that movie, only that it ended with a picture of an ocean, and an alone man on the beach, leaving us never knowing if he would ever meet his girl again or not. I love when a picture put that enormous hill of emotions in your heart, and just as many questions in your head. That feeling, that mood.Most of the actors has received bad reviews for this movie, not least on this forum. But in my opinion, Rufus Sewell is doing his part very well. First so uncertain, then slowly growing into his role. Keither Sutherland, in a pretty uncomfortable role as a scared, weak doctor does it surprisingly good. William Hurt is hard and scarred, but soft on the inside. I guess the actors are telling more about their parts than the script itself. Generally, all the actors seem to have captured this feeling, this sense, that colors all throughout the picture, making the picture. You are not watching it. You are in it. You are John Murdoch.I'd like to end with a quoteJohn Murdoch: "When was the last time you remember doing something during the day?"It sort of reveals the touch of it. If you haven't seen it, see it, in the middle of the night! If you've seen it daytime, see it again at nighttime. Not because you're tired, but because it's dark.
I think Alex Proyas had a stroke of genius in the making of this movie. One of the most original dark sci-fi movies I've seen in a long time. (by nitehawk-8)
John Murdoch Rufus Sewell wakes up in an eerie hotel, naked and in the bathtub, with no memories and blood on his forehead. I couldn't imagine a more strange and frightening experience. The ring of the hotel phone breaks the silence-- a strange man on the other end tells him he must leave because there are people looking for him. Many events such as this one unfold in Dark City, where "man has no past... and humanity has no future".Dark City has been passed over by so many critics it's depressing. I think that it should at least have been up for "original <more>
screenplay" or SOMETHING at the Oscars to reward Alex Proyas for his fantastic vision. I fail to see why so many people label this movie "noir" like it's BAD or something. Being dark and twisted is not a crime, and despite some other people's comments, this movie is NOT just for the trenchcoat-wearing masses or if it is, maybe the rest of you can learn something from Goths . If you like sci-fi, dark plots and having reality be so well distorted that you don't realize it IS, so you will love Dark City. People who have seen the Matrix BEFORE this movie MUST see it, it is very similar in these three respects .I gave it a 9 out of 10 ONLY because I thought the ending fight scene was a bit weak. Great for a fight scene, but because the rest of the movie focuses on John Murdoch's quest to discover his past and the eerie, ominous happenings in the city, the climax seemed hastily thrown together, as if the crew all of a sudden remembered they had a deadline to meet and could no longer continue the plot in the previous fashion.The visuals in this movie were absolutely stunning. The effects were NOT used to substitute for the plot, like other movies such as Starship Troopers, Lost in Space and Alien: Resurrection. They were used only as needed and were breathtaking. The editing is NOT as choppy as is rumored, it only lends to the power of the movie. There are some heart-stopping images in Dark City. Watch for the Strangers' clock, views of the city and John's memories.Proyas takes ideas and ambience from many other movies but integrates them all neatly into Dark City. Gotham City is clearly seen as is Metropolis and other influences such as Ed Hopper's "Nighthawks" dominate in the diner scenes. The forty-ish era yet strangely futuristic city is known to be populated, and yet it is ominously empty hence one of Hopper's main themes, isolation in large cities . It's especially quiet at midnight, hehehehe... ;D This 40's era ambience together with the sci-fi fantasy undercurrent makes for a very interesting feeling while watching.I'm happy that Kiefer Sutherland, Richard O'Brien of Rocky Horror fame and William Hurt agreed to do this movie, it gave Dark City just that much more validation in the USA I wish things weren't like this, but they are . Kiefer Sutherland is absolutely wonderful and convincing as the doctor/scientist Dr.Schreber, and Rufus Sewell is a properly confused yet determined John Murdoch. Many critics say that William Hurt's character, the detective, and Jennifer Connelly's Emma Murdoch could have used a little more development, but I think part of the point of Dark City was that you don't really know who people are not to mention yourself . Richard O'Brien and his character's whole race creep me out every time I see the movie, but he's especially frightening and a strange character. I had to resist the urge to talk like a Stranger after seeing the movie a few times.Trevor Jones, one of my favorite movie composers, did the score for Dark City, and I must say it's very apropo. The deep, bass vocals and frantic themes are some of my favorite aspects, but "Memories of Shell Beach" is a haunting, beautiful song as well. Some of my other favorite scores by him are the Dark Crystal and Last of the Mohicans.Altogether, I think Alex Proyas had a stroke of genius in the making of this movie. One of the most original dark sci-fi movies I've seen in a long time. It deserves its place with the Matrix, 12 Monkeys and others, pioneers in a field so changed usually for the worse since Star Wars and since earlier sci-fi classics. I hope these won't be the last of a dare I say it? dying race of movies that have true creativity and originality.
One of the best science fictions ever made... (by mutlu_bahar)
Dark City is the best film of Alex Proyas. He uses the Gothic and claustrophobic themes commonly and dark colors prevail during the film like "The Crow" .The story doesn't follow a certain order of rule, instead there is some mind games and puzzles in the film, that causes watchers to be active in each minute and motivate to the movie..The topic is about a man who loses his past and first finds himself in a bath tub, doesn^t know about himself and his life, but he has one ability that no one has, he can be alive when the evil forces stops the time and reshapes the world <more>
according to their own demand. The story is so fantastic and Proyas' nightmare world come true in that movie.I can basically say that it's one of the best science fiction movies ever made, it opens doors to different dimensions and force human brains' capability...."Mutlu Bahar"
This is probably the best Sci-Fi-Film of the Ninetees. Matrix is good, but this film is better. Both deal with the same question: What is reality? Not only was Dark City first, it also handles the subject much better and more adult than Matrix. Also its conclusion is far better than the one of Matrix.Not only does this film deal with reality, it also deals with humanity, something which lacks Matrix. What makes us humans? To quote Dr. Schreber from the film "Are we more than just the sum of our Experiences?" This film is slowpaced, but not boring at all. And it deserves the title: <more>
Dark. The film is dark, "noir" and this gives the film a great atmosphere. The darkness and coldness of the strangers is in contrast to the bright light of the sun created by John Murdoch in the end.This film is very philosophic, which I like. The best films are those which help us to think and this one clearly is such a film. Something which is needed in our society of marionettes and idiotic consumers who know more than anyone else before in history but who lack the ability to truly think.The show down was a little weak, but the film made this up again at the very end with the last meeting between Murdoch and Mr. Hand. I remember Murdoch's words well and he speaks of a truth which is sometimes forgotten: What makes us human is not to be found in our heads, our brains and our minds.
Think Matrix philosophy - without the hype and SFX (by davidporter)
If you like mind twisting movies that stick with you for days/weeks and make you question the human existence and our reality as we know it, then DARK CITY is the film for you.Similar in philosophy to the later released 'The Matrix', the film is centered around a man Rufus Sewell who becomes suddenly and unwittingly aware that his world is not what it seems. The film kicks off with Murdoch Sewell waking up in a bathtub with no memory and a dead body in the same room. He has no recollection as to how and why he's there.As Murdoch attempts to put the pieces together he notices <more>
that at every midnight on the dot, apart from Murdoch himself, every inhabitant in the city falls asleep. It's then that he realizes that something even bigger than his memory loss is taking place.Alex Proyas The Crow manages to combine a tantalisingly interesting Sci-Fi screenplay with dark and drab yet beautifully mysterious cinematography and he pulls it off once again . Although a box-office flop, it has managed to, through the years, collect and maintain a cult following which is well deserved.It isn't without it's faults, Rufus Sewell although adequate, doesn't steal the show much like Keanu , and the talented co-stars k. Sutherland, Connelly & Hurt aren't utilised as well as they could be. The story does become slight complicated and a little ridiculous at times, but which Sci-Fi movie hasn't suffered from that affliction?! To summarise, think of 'The Matrix', minus the big name stars, special effects and hype, and multiply the philosophy and mystery by 10 without complicating it, like the Matrix sequels did and you end up with DARK CITY.
Confusing at first but ultimately fantastic (by Barry_Delaney)
John Mudoch Rufus Sewell awakes in a bathtub completely naked, with blood dripping down his forehead, unaware of what is happening, he remembers nothing. In the next room he finds a dead body and a blood stained knife. What follows is john trying to piece together what is happening to him and what he unravels is one of the greatest science fiction stories ever put to film. There is a group called the strangers who have an ability to physically change surroundings of them and the people living in the city, they call this ability "tuning". They soon discover that john also has this <more>
ability, which is impossible as it would take a normal human a few lifetimes to gain the ability to "tune". Thats the most i can tell without giving away major plot points.The movie is set in a 1940ish looking city where detectives are hunting John, along with the mysterious strangers. The tall buildings and the knowledge that the strangers could be anywhere in the city gives a menacing ambiance, heightening the tension in the movie and giving off a great effect on the viewer. The special effects in Dark City are stunning and realistic, especially when certain characters use "tuning".Rufus Sewell gives a good performance as John Murdoch, though i could'nt help feeling he was holding back somewhat. I could think of a few other actors who could have gave a much better performance but he was generally good.Kiefer Sunderland as Dr. Daniel Schreber was very good and seemed to have put all of his effort into his character, its quite an unusual role for Sunderland but he pulls it off pretty well.Another performance worth mentioning is Richard O'Brien as Mr Hand, he gives a genuinely creepy performance as one of the main strangers, i thought i would see him and think crystal maze through all of his scenes but he does a pretty good job of playing a convincing character.Overall the movie leaves a few unanswered questions, leaving the viewer to conduct their own theories about the outcome of events. I have a good grasp of the story as a whole but some people will find bits and pieces confusing. A great film anyways, i gave it an 8 because it tends to drag in some spots, but the end makes up for all doubts.
Dark City is definitely a one of a kind movie. There's no other in the science fiction genre that's similar to it. It stands alone. Most of the time I really enjoy films that are unique and stand out, and this one fits into that most category. Typically I'm not huge on the science fiction genre, but I think even if you don't usually care for that type of film, you'll still like this one. One of the reasons it can transcend a strict science fiction audience is because of its intelligence. The film doesn't reveal a whole lot until the very end, which is very clever, <more>
keeps the viewer guessing the whole way through. The cast is very good. I think each and every cast member was picked well and represents their role well. The plot is a lot to explain, and the movie gets more complicated as it goes along, so I'll just say that the plot is full of rich twists and turns. I can almost 100% guarantee that you will not be bored with this film, too much is going on for that to happen. The special effects were good for 1998, they are kind of dated by today's standards, but they still work, the buildings in the city are probably the most interesting thing as far as visual effects go. Overall, I do recommend this very interesting film. 8/10.