Monday, December 19, 2016

Darkness, Darkness

Dark City (1998) is one of those movies that I've been meaning to watch since forever. Since we saw Alex Proyas' Gods of Egypt, I felt we should watch something he's legit famous for.

It is set in the titular dark, grimy, noirish city. A man (Rufus Sewell) wakes up in a bathtub, with no memories. He gets a call from a mysterious doctor (Keifer Sutherland) telling him to run. Which he does when he notices the carved up corpse in the room.

This would be bad enough, but he eventually find out that at midnight, everyone falls asleep and the entire city is re-arranged - buildings shrink or grow, ordinary jerks become rich, strangers become lovers, and it's all backed up by implanted memories so nobody notices anything. Meanwhile, accordian-loving detective William "Big" Hurt has teamed up with Sewell's wife (Jennifer Connolly) to bring him to justice - if he is the one leaving carved-up corpses around.

I should mention that we watched the Director's Cut, which leaves out the prologue the studio slapped on, which gives away the whole story. But I guess I've already spoiled a lot of it, so I hope you've already seen it.

This movie has a great look, with obvious homage paid to Metropolis, among others. The noir atmosphere is great - Jennifer Connolly is a chantoosy in a jazz club, which gives a chance for a couple of songs. Then there's the reality bending. It works in a neat way - a wall may or may not have a door in it, a pool may or may not have a ladder. It's not exactly subtle, but not flashy either. Of course, when the buildings start growing, it's pretty cool.

This is a great movie for fans of Matrix, Cube or maybe They Live.  I wish Proyas had made more in this vein. Guess we'll need to watch The Crow.

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