Rating: 8.2/10 -Excellent
Before the brilliant piece of art that is The Matrix was released in 1999, another exceptional science fiction film was released in 1998. Dark City showed us that the world we lived in was a false one. We were dreaming. Humankind was under the control of aliens. But we could liberate ourselves. This sounds familiar to all the Matrix junkies doesn't it?
Director: Alex Proyas. Screenplay: Alex Proyas, David S. Goyer and Lem Dobbs. Producers: Alex Proyas and Andrew Mason. Cinematographer: Dariusz Wolski. Editor: Dov Hoenig. Music: Trevor Jones Distributor: New Line Cinema. Starring: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt. Running Time: 100 Minutes.
Dark City, written and directed by Alex Proyas, who had made the Crow's sequel, City of Angels. Judging by it just breaking even at the box office, one wonders if it was poorly marketed at cinemas, because it was original and well-made.
John Murdoch wakes up. He is alone in a hotel. He has lost his memory but he's wanted for a series of twisted murders. It may become slightly confusing from hereon for may viewers, but I loved the intelligent plot.
Visually, it is a very cool film. The "baddies" are also an interesting group of evil people. They look creepier than the agents from The Matrix. They maybe do not
blend into society "as we know it" as Agent Smith and company, however. Their pale faces and lankiness is not the same as wearing a blazer and tie.
Kiefer Sutherland's performance as a creepy doctor of his own, is also memorable. Yet, somehow, he went onto play mostly clean, Jack Bauer in 24, three years after this. He still managed to star as a nutcase in Phone Booth in 2002. I cannot say it strongly enough, however, Sutherland is freaky in Dark City.
And what about the lead? Rufus Sewell has struggled to be a leading man. I'm not sure why. Maybe he is not leading man material? He was smug in A Knight's Tale. Alright, he is smug in most films. But, what's wrong with being smug on camera? Nevertheless, he is powerful in Dark City, as a man who has lost so much. He is set to star in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter but not as the lead. I hope he is not underused in the film. Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt are also solid in the movie.
Verdict: If you want to watch a film that deserved more credit for its originality, strong acting, excellent art direction and bizarre characters, watch Dark City. Also watch it if you liked The Matrix for the story and not just the bullet time.
Dark City is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.