If you're a fan of brooding comic-book anti-heroes, got a nihilistic jolt from The Crow
(1994) and share director Alex Proyas's highly developed preoccupation for style over substance, you might be tempted to call Dark City
an instant classic of visual imagination. It's one of those films that exists in a world purely of its own making, setting its own rules and playing by them fairly, so that even its derivative elements (and there are quite a few) acquire their own specific uniqueness. Before long, however, the film becomes interesting only as a triumph of production design. And while that's certainly enough to grab your attention (Blade Runner
is considered a classic, after all), it's painfully clear that Dark City
has precious little heart and soul. One-dimensional characters are no match for the film's abundance of retro-futuristic style, so it's best to admire the latter on its own splendidly cinematic terms. Trivia buffs will be interested to know that the film's 50-plussets (partially inspired by German expressionism) were built at the Fox Film Studios in Sydney, Australia, home base of director Alex Proyas and producer Andrew Mason. The underground world depicted in the film required the largest indoor set ever built in Australia. --Jeff Shannon
Director Alex Proyas's updated version of his cult sci-fi movie. John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) is a telekenetic suffering from amnesia who wakes in an unfamiliar hotel room to find himself wanted by police detective Bumstead (William Hurt) for a series of murders. John goes on the run and, as parts of his memory begin to return, he realizes that the city around him is in a perpetual state of midnight. Aided by Doctor Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland), John discovers that the city is the creation of alien creatures known as the Shadows, who want him removed because of his psychic powers.