DVD ArchivesFilm ArchivesFilm Website

Dark City

Review Written by: Joey Dante
Film Rating: A+

Directed by: Alex Proyas
Written by: Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer
Produced by: Alex Proyas and Andrew Mason
Starring: Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O'Brien, Ian Richardson, Bruce Spence
Studio: New Line Cinema

Dark City by Alex Proyas is a mature and intelligent science fiction masterpiece. In it's running time, it flawlessly executes the theme of fabricated reality, as well the ability to blend philosophizing with its narrative. Its plot is deep enough on its own, but beneath the surface brings out questions such as what truly makes a man? Are emotions dictated by our memories? Instead of stopping to make speeches, it lets its viewers analyze what they wish and not force its message. While watching Dark City, words like "mind blowing," "visually stunning" and "brilliant" flew from my mind onto my notepad.

John Murdoch awakens in his hotel room as naked as the day he was born (cryptic symbolism). He is lost and confused. After discovering that he has lost his memory, he embarks on a dangerous journey to find himself. While on the quest for the truth, he crosses paths with a strange doctor, who claims that John had been his patient for a long period of time. Later on, he encounters a woman claiming to be his wife, but John has no recollection of her. As his mission continues, he gathers up clues that lead to a place called shell beach. The only problem is nobody he meets can lead him to it. John's greatest obstacle, however, is a group of mysterious men who seem to want something from him. Through all this, John continues to untangle the twisted riddle of his identity. But in a city where reality is the ultimate illusion, discovering the truth could be fatal.

Consisting of cuts every two seconds on average, Dark City keeps the viewer involved in its theme. Finally, a film so visually arresting and thought provoking, one could only hope to see more like it. If we do in fact live in a time where special effects dominate the science fiction genre, then Dark City is a film to nourish us. Not only is it masterful in its narrative, it is a triumph of set design, special effects, costume design, and art direction. Alex Proyas, the director of The Crow, wrote and directed the twisted cult classic that proposes many questions and leave the answers up to its viewers.

Rufus Sewell's performance is as fascinating as Proyas's mystical vision. In fact, all of the cast members deliver strong performances that guide the film to the very end. The genre blend is possibly the most fascinating aspect of the entire project, because it works on multiple levels. Not just a dark science fiction, but an involving film noir with a bleak mysterious undertone. Not only a mystery, but a provoking character study about a man discovering the power that lies within himself, as well as him being more than his memories.

It's upsetting to see childish nonsense like The Matrix receive such worldwide praise while underrated brilliance like this only holds a cult status, but at the same time, it's comforting that this film will never be considered overrated or over praised. Dark City is an obscure gem that sparkles when analyzed. Proyas' vision was brought to life and something truly special was left behind.

Kiefer Sutherland in the cult classic Dark City.
Home   # -C   D-F   G-I   J-L   M-O   P-R   S-U   V-Z

Logo designed by Adrian Ellison.  Website created by Estefan Ellison.
The Film Archives is hosted and designed by Design Doodles.
All reviews are the sole property of The Film Archives and its staff.