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The critically-acclaimed triumph from visionary director Alex Proyas (I, Robot, The Crow) is back with a brand new directors cut featuring enhanced picture and sound, never-before-seen footage and three commentary tracks that take you deeper than ever before into the world of one of sci-fis most exciting and revered tales. When John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes with no memory at the scene of a grisly murder, he soon finds himself hunted by the police, a woman claiming to be his wife and a mysterious group of pale men who seem to control everything and everyone in the city. Starring Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist), Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), William Hurt (A History of Violence) and Kiefer Sutherland (TVs 24).
Introduction by Alex Proyas (4.58)
“Memories of Shell Beach” (Making of) (43:01)
“Achitecture of Dreams” (33:45)
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Dark City is a gloriously wonderful film, which pays homage to Film Noir from the ’40s and ’50s, German Expressionist film of the 1920s and ’30s, and (to a degree), psychic battle manga like Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Domu, along with the series Locke the Superman (which in turn inspired the first two works).
The film focuses on six characters, three leads who I can describe, and three supporting characters whose character descriptions are significant spoilers. The main three are John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), Inspector Frank Bumstead (William Hurt), and Emma Murdoch (Jennifer Connelly). The other two characters being Dr. Daniel Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland), Mr. Hand (Richard O’Brian), and Mr. Book (Ian Richardson).
John is a man who wakes up in a hotel with no memory, and spends the film trying to figure out who he is. Bumstead is a world weary police detective investigating a series of murders in which John is the prime suspect. finally, Emma is John’s spouse who is worried about his sudden instability.
Then there’s Hand, Book, and Schreber. Again, these characters, or rather what they are, are spoilers, so I don’t want to get too much into that. Yes, this film is almost 20 years old, but just like The Usual Suspects, this is a film that benefits from going in cold. Without going into spoilers, let’s just say that the film goes into Cabinet of Doctor Caligari territory when it comes to definitions of reality and memory, and these characters are fundimental to that part of the plot.
The acting performancse in the film are great. In particular, I thought Richard O’Brian and Kiefer Sutherland’s formulances were standout. O’Brian brings an air of unearthly creepyness to the role of Mr. Hand, to the point that I really wish he got more horror film roles, particularly as a villain. Sutherland also does an amazing job as Schreiber, completely disappearing into the role to such a point that I’m utterly shocked that he received precisely no nominations from anywhere for his performance. Not even a Saturn award. If that’s not highway robbery, then I don’t know what it is.
The other performances in the film are good, but not quite as mindblowing. Hunt pulls off tired and world-weary well, though I suspect he was cast to type. Connelly does a great job as a woman who is in over her head, but is doing her best to get by.
It also bears mentioning that the film’s set design, wardrobe, and art are fantastic, and while the film’s CG has aged questionably, the practical effects look great, and the miniatures in particular are wonderful.
My caveat for the film is that the theatrical cut adds material to the beginning of the film which gives away the film’s twist, so go with the film’s director’s cut.
Most of the movie is dark and dreary and felt much like a Blade Runner as far as the filming.The actual movie still felt like what The Matrix should have been.By that I mean I hate the Matrix but the idea for that movie was great just not pulled off well with the over the top action and well Keanu.It pulls off what it is trying to do none of it is over the top.Even the final fight witch a lot of people wanted to be much more action pact stayed the course.(Spoiler)Having the older leader who was visually weaker then I'm shore he was when he was younger and had far more control of his abilities and a man trying to learn to control and even find the limits of his newly found abilities in a battle.There was no flipping and flying Yoda stile cheese.It was just a power struggle who had the most.
All the actors did a fine job as well as the backdrop of the city and the stile in witch it was filmed.I mentioned it was dark a lot of the time in the movie and in most cases that leads to some graininess on DVDs but the black is pitch black as it should be on Blu Ray.A great WTF is going on movie that doesn't sell out for fear of people not sticking with it.The clues are all there and placed at a good pace up to the reveal.I loved this movie.It received 4 stars from me.I find it hard to give a 5 star to any movie but this one was close.If you like sci fi and a good ride.Take this trip!