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Eventually he uncovers his real name, and tracks down his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly). An American and Australian production, it was jointly produced by New Line Cinema and Mystery Clock Cinema, and distributed by the former for theatrical release. The men are confronted by the Strangers, including Mr. Hand, who holds Emma hostage. [9], Proyas co-wrote the screenplay with Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer. For much of the film Murdoch is the audience. | They confront Schreber, who explains that the Strangers are extraterrestrials who use corpses as their hosts. and "With its amber-tinged palette and its distinctively dystopian view of life, it may be the most unique-looking film we've seen in ages...[but] defies logic and makes frightening and unexpected leaps. Murdoch now casts new shadows for the city inhabitants, who must trust his judgment. Murdoch stays on the move in the city, which experiences perpetual night. A director's cut was released in 2008, restoring and preserving Proyas' original artistic vision for the film. Murdoch awakens, fully realizing his skills. [9], Theologian Gerard Loughlin interprets Dark City as a retelling of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Taglines [21] The city was entirely constructed on a set; no practical locations were used in the film. ... Murdoch eventually meets Bumstead, who recognizes Murdoch's innocence and has his own questions about the nature of the dark city. He receives a phone call from Doctor Schreber, telling him that some people are coming for him and he should leave immediately. John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes in a hotel bathtub, suffering from what seems to be amnesia. Loughlin writes of the lack of background, "The origin of the city is off-stage, unknown and unknowable." Meanwhile, the Strangers, disturbed by the presence of a human who retains their powers (which they refer to as tuning) inject one of their men, Mr. Hand (Richard O'Brien) with Murdoch's lost memories, in an attempt to track down Murdoch.Constantly on the run, Murdoch witnesses the Strangers altering the city's landscape and people's identities during the still period at midnight, during which time everyone is unconscious. The music for the film was edited by Simon Leadley and Jim Harrison.[29]. One of the last scenes of the movie, in which buildings "restore" themselves, is similar to the last panel of the Akira manga. The city has a World War II dreariness reminiscent of Edward Hopper's works and has details from different eras and architectures that are changed by the Strangers; "buildings collapse as others emerge and battle with one another at the end". Proyas said, "I do like Greek mythology and have read a little of it, so maybe some of it has crept into the work, though I don't completely agree with that point of view. "[20] In the process of creating the fictional world for the character of the detective, Proyas created other characters, shifting the focus of the film from the detective (Bumstead) to the person pursued by the detective (Murdoch). Plot Keywords Having a hive mind, the Strangers are experimenting with humans to analyze their individuality in the hopes that some insight might be revealed that will help their own race survive. The lair set was built on a fairground in Sydney, Australia. A major clock in the film shows no hours; Tatopoulos said, "But in a magical moment it becomes something more than just a clock. Frustrated, Murdoch tears through the wall, revealing a hole into deep space. He went on to say, Proyas was "trying simultaneously to create a pure thriller and sci-fi nightmare along with his tongue-in-cheek critique of artifice. "[58] James Berardinelli writing for ReelViews, remarked that "Visually, this film isn't just impressive, it's a tour de force." He is hunted by the police for a series of murders he knows nothing about, a woman who claims to be his wife is after him, and so is a mysterious "doctor". Now Murdoch must find a way to stop them before they take control of his mind and destroy him. [50] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average out of 100 top critics' reviews, the film received a score of 66 based on 23 reviews. [48], Dark City was titled Dark World and Dark Empire leading up to the film's release. "He slowly starts to go insane through the story," says Proyas. Dark City is constructed like panels in a Batman book, each picture striving for maximum dread." Fritz Lang's 1927 movie Metropolis was a major influence on the film, showing through the architecture, concepts of the baseness of humans within a metropolis, and general tone. "[51] Berardinelli also said "Dark City appears to be New York during the first half of this century, but, using a style that is part science fiction, part noir thriller, and part gothic horror, he has embellished it to create a surreal place unlike no other. While trying to piece together his past, he stumbles upon a fiendish underworld controlled by a group of beings known as The Strangers who possess the ability to put people to sleep and alter the city and its inhabitants. Murdoch flees the scene, just as the Strangers arrive at the room. He sees people fall comatose at the stroke of midnight, and he is pursued by The Strangers. Beyond him is a dock, where he finds Emma, now with new memories and a new identity as Anna, with no recollection of Murdoch. [3], Among mainstream critics in the U.S., the film received generally positive reviews. A man awakens in a bathtub and receives a phone call warning him he should leave the room since he will be captured. The DVD also includes biographies, filmographies, comparisons to Fritz Lang's Metropolis, set designs, and the theatrical trailer.[74]. Murdoch eventually meets Bumstead, who recognizes Murdoch's innocence and has his own questions about the nature of the dark city. When Proyas visited London to cast for the film, he met with O'Brien and found him suitable for the role. On the case is Inspector Frank Bumstead, who's intrigued when Murdoch's wife, Emma, reports him missing. The Strangers bring Murdoch to their home beneath the city and force Schreber to imprint Murdoch with their collective memory, believing Murdoch to be the culmination of their experiments. Murdoch attempts to discover his true identity and clear his name while on the run from the police and a mysterious group known only as the "Strangers. They reintroduce and walk to Shell Beach, beginning their relationship anew. For Loughlin, the city dwellers are prisoners who do not realize they are in a prison. He frees himself and battles with the Strangers, defeating their leader Mr. Book in a psychokinetic fight high above the city. [73] The region 1 code widescreen edition of the film was released on DVD in the United States on 29 July 1998. Special features for the DVD include two audio commentary tracks, one with film critic Roger Ebert, and one with director Alex Proyas, writers Lem Dobbs and David Goyer, and production designer Patrick Tatopoulos. So, you don't really know where you are. One of the things that we're exploring in this film, is what it is that makes us who we are. During the telephone conversation, John discovers the corpse of a brutalised, ritualistically murdered woman, along with a bloody knife. [43] Dark City has also drawn comparisons to the anime films Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984)[44][45] and Megazone 23 (1985),[46] and the 1993 video game Gadget Invention, Travel, & Adventure. "[64], Steve Biodrowski of Cinefantastique found the production design and the cinematography overwhelming, but he considered the narrative engagement of Sewell's amnesiac character to be ultimately successful. [17], When Proyas finished his preceding film The Crow in 1994, he approached production designer Patrick Tatopoulos to draw concepts for the world in which Dark City takes place. Murdoch stays on the move in the city, which experiences perpetual night. Murdoch attempts to discover his true identity and clear his name while on the run from the police and a mysterious group known only as the "Strangers." [47], When Christopher Nolan first started thinking about writing the script for Inception, he was influenced by "that era of movies where you had The Matrix, you had Dark City, you had The Thirteenth Floor and, to a certain extent, you had Memento, too. We made a section of corridor that we kept driving through all the time, and you end up believing this thing is running along forever." | Double Feature: DARK CITY (1998) Alien “Strangers” whose world is dying collect a group of humans for study - in solving the mysteries of human life, they hope to save themselves. "[51] Describing some pitfalls, Jeff Vice of the Deseret News said that "when critics talk about films being 'style over substance,' they're definitely talking about movies like Dark City, which looks good but leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. [70] The film's revenue dropped by 49.1% in its second week of release, earning $2,837,941, dropping to 9th, while Titanic remained in first place with $17,605,849. [72], The film was released in VHS video format on 2 March 1999. As he stumbles into his hotel room, he receives a call from Dr. Daniel Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland), who urges him to flee the hotel from a group of men called The Strangers. [30][31][32][33][34][35] Some stylistic similarities have also been noted to Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's 1995 film The City of Lost Children,[36][37] another film inspired particularly by Gilliam (Gilliam had presented Jeunet's and Caro's previous film Delicatessen in North America,[38][39] another film by Jeunet and Caro that was a deliberate homage to Gilliam's style). Tatopoulos said, "We had, obviously, a car built, but we had just one built. And this doesn't work out quite so well. [27] It features music from the original score by Trevor Jones, and versions of the songs "Sway" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" performed by singer Anita Kelsey. Internationally, the film took in an additional $12,821,985 in box office business for a combined worldwide total of $27,200,316. This guy wears bad luck like the grimy trenchcoats of his protagonists, only his zipper's stuck and he can't seem to shake the damn thing off." Corliss, Richard (2 March 1998). Film critic Roger Ebert cited it as the best film of 1998. [3] The film's cumulative gross ranked 105th for 1998. Proyas originally wanted the rail car to roll by various rooms, which was not feasible for the budget, so Tatopoulos and the crew used "replaceable elements and strong design textures" to mimic the impression of various rooms. Murdich also learns that he has uncontrolled powers similar to the Strangers who are hunting him as well. After learning from Schreber that Emma has been re-imprinted and cannot be restored, Murdoch exercises his new-found powers, amplified by the Strangers' machine, to create an actual Shell Beach by flooding the area within the force field with water and forming mountains and beaches. John decides to find out what is happening in his city; why is it always night? It also includes 15 minutes of additional footage, mostly consisting of extended scenes with additional establishing shots and dialogue. Movies. When design first started, the filmmakers considered having the Strangers be bugs underneath but decided that the bug appearance was overused. You're there, but you don't know where you are. Complete summary of Conrad Aiken's The Dark City. Proyas called the end battle a "homage to Otomo's Akira". and noted that "Dark City opens by immersing the audience in the midst of a fractured, nightmarish narrative. And why can nobody tell him a way to leave the city? He flees the scene, just as the group of pale men in trenchcoats (later identified as "the Strangers") arrive. "[53] In a mixed review, Walter Addiego of The San Francisco Examiner thought "as a story, Dark City doesn't amount to much." Murdoch is eventually caught by Inspector Bumstead, who acknowledges that Murdoch is most likely innocent, and by then has his own misgivings about the nature of the city. Find trailers, reviews, synopsis, awards and cast information for Dark City (1950) - William Dieterle on AllMovie - Though he had previously appeared in David… The three embark to find Shell Beach, but it exists only as a poster on a wall at the edge of the city.

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