Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Alex Proyas (The Crow) directed this noir-styled futuristic thriller, scripted by Proyas, Lem Dobbs (Kafka), and David S. Goyer (The Puppet Masters). Separated from his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly), amnesiac John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) awakens alone in a strange hotel to learn he is wanted for a series of brutal killings -- but he can't remember if he did or didn't commit these murders. Indeed, most of his memories have completely vanished, and he becomes the focus of interest for both mad genius Dr. Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland) and sympathetic detective Frank Bumstead (William Hurt). Attempting to unravel the twisted riddle of his identity, Murdoch encounters a group of ominous beings known as the Strangers, shadow-like figures who have a collective memory and possess the ability to stop time and alter physical reality through a process called The Tuning. Focusing their minds, they are able to change the size and shape of the material world. Murdoch manages to stay a step ahead of his adversaries as he slowly jigsaws together the puzzle of his past-bittersweet memories of his childhood, his love for Emma, and the key to the murders -- while following a labyrinth leading to the Strangers' Underworld, a set inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Rufus Sewell commented on the Underworld: "When Alex first sent me the sketches for that set, I was more excited than I had been when I read the script. The Underworld was truly remarkable -- a little bit scary, very thrilling, and full of hundreds of bald people." At the Fox Film Studios in Sydney, Australia, where 50 sets were built, three months were spent constructing the set for the Underworld, the largest indoor set ever built in Australia. The production design by George Liddle (Rapa Nui) and Patrick Tatopoulos (Godzilla, Space: Above and Beyond) is a composite of different styles and eras, combining the look of 1940s Manhattan with German Expressionism. The music is by Trevor Jones (G.I. Jane). The film's dedication reads: "In Memory of Dennis Potter with gratitude and admiration."
amnesia, investigation, murder, time-warp, nighttime, underworld
High Artistic Quality, High Production Values, Sleeper