Dark City (1998)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Tech Noir, Romantic Mystery  |   Release Date - Feb 27, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - Australia , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Matthew Doberman

An extremely ambitious film about the nature of the human soul, Dark City is worth seeing for simply for its visual artistry. The film presents a bleak, film noir-ish urban landscape of no particular era and perpetual nighttime. The imaginative story begins as a crime thriller, though we quickly learn that the murder mystery is part of an all-encompassing puzzle that blends the realms of science fiction and philosophy. Dark City takes what could have been a wildly pretentious storyline and imbues it with skill and substance. Director Alex Proyas was responsible for the similarly desolate, dreamlike world of The Crow; with this film, he proves himself not just a visual wunderkind, but a deft storyteller as well (he co-wrote the screenplay with Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer). Rufus Sewell is excellent as the brooding, justly paranoid John Murdoch, and Kiefer Sutherland is delightfully creepy as the wheezy Dr. Schreber. Those who like their stories straightforward and grounded in reality should be forewarned, but for those who don't mind mixing their entertainment with metaphysics, Dark City is one of the most overlooked films of the 1990s.