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Dark City (1998) – Her Review August 17, 2006

Posted by Eury in Movies, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
1 comment so far

Where the sun don't shine!

Dir. Alex Proyas

Starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Keifer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly etc.,

Dark, as in secret; dark as in hidden; dark as in foreboding; dark as in unenlightened. Dark as in night… without sun, as in mystery, evil, hellish, bad, sinister. Dark, the perfect adjective to describe this city and this movie. Very film-noir, very stylistic and thought-provoking.

Our story begins with a vocal introduction by whom we soon learn is Dr. Schreber (Keifer Sutherland )who explains that aliens from another planet, have altered the memories of humans to find out what makes us tick, so to speak.

Our central character, John Murdoch, (Rufus Sewell) wakes up in a hotel room with a murdered prostitute. He doesn’t know if he killed her as he doesn’t remember anything, not where he is, not even who he is… and he, of course, doesn’t know that someone’s been mucking around with his brain and using him as a guinea pig.

While being chased by both the very dead-looking alien strangers (dressed appropriately in black leather duds) and the dead-pan faced detective, Bumstead, (William Hurt) he tries to uncover his identity and his memory, which he captures in very tiny spurts of seeing himself as a young boy at the beach.

For once, (unlike the DaVinci Code) a film does a great job of not spoon-feeding us every single clue. It relies on us, the audience, to take notice of details so that we can piece together the mystery for ourselves. It treats us with respect and credits us with being intelligent enough to do it on our own. Bravo! It also contains an action sequence that (even though 8 years old) puts many current sci-fi mystery thrillers to shame.

Warning: Spoiler in following paragraph:

As much as I want to try to avoid saying too much, I will say though that this movie delves into questions that both we and psychanalysts have asked for the longest time… what is real? Is anything real, even love? Or is it all just a dream? Are we being examined by some super-beings. Are we living in a world like the Matrix?

Stylistically, this movie has so much going for it. It looks like it’s pulled directly out of a graphic novel or a very dark video game. I was very surprised that I had never heard of this movie before Jinx’s suggestion of watching it. An original movie that surely could be watched over and over again, as knowing the end doesn’t detract from it’s uniqueness and the cool feeling it will be to find those treasured little details you may have missed the first or second time around. A true classic.

This is Her Review. Read His Review Here

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Dark City (1998) – His Review August 17, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Movies, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
1 comment so far

In the dead of night, love bites

Dir. Alex Proyas

Starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Keifer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly etc

Dark City gets quite a bit of it’s character from old-school film noir and pulp novels. Our main character John has lost his memory, and searches for clues in the dark. The femme fatale (his wife) is a singer at a nightclub. There is a killer on the loose, and an almost washed-out cop is on the case. It certainly sounds like something that has been boiling hard since the 40’s. However, we the audience already know things are not what they seem.. (thanks for the prologue narrative Keifer).

As it turns out, mysterious “strangers” who can alter reality hold the city at siege, it’s citizens unknowing and uncaring. John’s search for his own identity leads him on a cat-and-mouse chase, and finally a stand-off with the bald baddies.

As a pitch it has some flaws, but the way this movie is put together it just makes perfect sense. The pace is eerily slow, but never dull, it’s just like peeling a fruit slowly makes it taste that much better. It’s creepy but not horror, it has no comic relief but it’s not humorless.

The effects and the look of the movie is also very cool. If you’ve complained about movies being “too dark” at some point, chances are they were just badly lit and shot. Dark City shows that there is lots of detail to be found in a two-tone palette of black and black (yes I’m exaggerating a bit). Things in this movie may strike you as very similar to the Matrix, but it’s best if you discard those thoughts and focus on this movie. Yes, the Wachowskis are thieves, but they steal some pretty damn good stuff.

This is His review, you can read Her review here

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Keywords July 26, 2006

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