2009 Nicolas Cage Sci-Fi Film
Dark City is a 1998 neo noir science fiction film directed by Alex Proyas. It was adapted from a screenplay written by Proyas, David S. Goyer and Lem Dobbs. The film stars Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jennifer Connelly. Sewell … see full wiki
Okay I will make an admission at the start of this review; the only reason I decided to watch Dark City (1998) again, is Jennifer Connelly, the earlier years, you know the ones before she decided to stop eating. The first time I attempted to watch this movie, some years ago, by the end I was two things: lost and bored. But that was then, and this is now, so I decided to give the movie another try; perhaps this time I could make something of it. And I succeeded, somewhat. This time around I wasnt lost, just bored and disappointed, but at least Jennifer Connelly, what little of her there was in the movie, looked normal and incredibly beautiful.
Dark City is the long-anticipated follow-up to the surprise hit The Crow (1994) written by writer/director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Garage Days, I, Robot). The Crow features a distinctive vision of a futuristic city where reality may be just an artificial creation that takes place without sunlight and beauty; that theme is repeated in Dark City only the story is not nearly as engaging. Can you say The Matrix (1999)? But, since Dark City was released before The Matrix, who copied whos over-riding theme?
Dark City centers on one John Murdoch, portrayed by Rufus Sewell (Dangerous Beauty, A Knights Tale, The Legend of Zorro), a man who wakes up in a bathtub full of water in a seedy hotel wondering where and who he is. He stumbles around in the perpetual darkness that is Dark City the city, looking for clues to his identity and eventually runs into Doctor Schreber portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland (Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, Young Guns) a psychiatrist who appears to have the answers he is looking for. The good doctor has all the answers because the good doctor knows all about Dark City a place we later find is floating in the vastness of space. The same Dark City that is being run by The Strangers a group of men dressed in all black, with bald heads and ugly dispositions. The Strangers it appears are carrying on experiments to alter the citys inhabitants memories, as well as time and the city landscape.
But John appears to be immune to The Strangers reality-warping powers and begins developing mental abilities and talents similar to that of The Strangers. And of course John may be the key to freeing the people of Dark City who are perpetually trapped in the nocturnal city/prison. He is helped along somewhat by his (maybe) wife Emma/Anna portrayed by Jennifer Connelly (Higher Learning, Hulk, Of Love and Shadows), a barroom singer, whose appearance in the movie is limited to eye-pleasing moments of dark titillation.
William Hurt (Body Heat, The Accidental Tourist, Jane Eyre) makes an appearance as Inspector Frank Bumstead who is pursuing John in connection to a string of vicious murders of prostitutes over the last three weeks. Other bit players include Melissa George (Mulholland Drive, Alias, Derailed) as May the prostitute among others.
As boogieman movies go Dark City is pretty silly; and did I mention boring and dark, and not the least bit thrilling, scary, or entertaining. The movie started out well enough but after John rises from the brackish waters of the tub, the movie quickly tumbles downhill. Its not enough that the movie was depressingly dark, but the scenes were disjointed without a real connection to hold them together. The characters are introduced in a haphazard fashion and without preamble that it took me a while to tie them completely into the movie. And by the time I parsed out their roles, I no longer cared about them or the movie.
And its not as if this particular theme has not been done before and better. To be sure Dark City is an ambitious movie and tries to be deep and meaningful: where does the human soul really reside, and is it the repository of human identity? This is an on-going debate in my household; I believe mind is the central repository of the soul, but my wife believes differently.
Another theme of the movie: can the soul be captured and transferred into another being; in this case can aliens capture the human soul by harvesting human memories? And once again good and evil battle for control on man, and there is a Judas afoot.
In the end, despite Ms. Connelly, who, as I stated above was barely in the movie, Dark City is not a movie I would rush to see again, or even a movie I would want to watch on a cold winters day, or during a thunderstorm (both prime movie watching periods) for that matter. Some may find Dark Citys brooding underpinning palatable but the movie left a very unsavory taste in my mouth, one I am not keen to repeat.
Principle Actors: Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard OBrien
Director: Alex Proyas
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.
Number of Discs: (1)
Rating: R for violence, including some disturbing images, brief gore, nudity and sex.
Studio: New Line Home Video
DVD Release Date: July 29, 1998
Run Time: 100 Minutes
o Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
o Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: None of the Above
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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2009 Nicolas Cage Sci-Fi Film
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