Thursday, May 14, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Movies That Made Me (Part 18)

DARK CITY (1998)

Already a massive fan of Alex Proyas' The Crow, when the weird cryptic trailers came on for Dark City I was intrigued. When we finally saw it at the cinema, I was stunned. Dark City is one of those completely nuts, totally weird, scifi noir, style-fests that I love.

The big problem is, the cinema release of it (and the first DVD release) spoiled a massive element of the plot in the titles. IN THE TITLES... It's not quite as bad as say, revealing the twist of The Sixth Sense in the opening scene, but almost. Don't worry, if you haven't seen it, I'm not going to spoil it here, and if you pick up the Director's Cut you won't have that spoiler.

Dark City is fantastic. It's SF but done with cool 1940's style. In a weird city where the sun never shines, John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes in a bathtub, unsure how he got there, or who he is. In a weird Lost Highway style reveal, he discovers a murdered woman in the bedroom, and strange men closing in on his location. Convinced they're after him, he runs...

He discovers he has a wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly) and that a police detective, Frank Bumstead (William Hurt) is convinced Murdock is the killer. While being chased by these strange men with weird names (Mr. Hand, Mr. Wall, Mr. Book, etc.) Murdock discovers he has some form of psychokinesis, And then it gets really weird.

Add into the mix a totally awesome performance by Kiefer Sutherland as crazy scientist Dr. Schreber, and a totally amazing last half hour that rivals the ending of Akira, and you have something amazing.

Those iconic rooftop sequences with the Strangers chasing Murdock? The sets they constructed were sold on to the production for my favourite movie - The Matrix.

Oh man, just saying at the beginning of this that I'm not going to spoil the movie has left me a little stumped for what to say about it. Without giving away the twist upon twist of this awesome movie, I can't really say anything further.

The only thing I will say, if you've not seen it, or are planning on watching it again - just pay attention to the number of edits in the first half hour. When most movies have an edit to a new shot every 10 or so seconds, there is an insane amount of cuts. Every couple of seconds.

But it doesn't suffer for it. There seems to be a crazy amount of information it's trying to get across quickly at the beginning.

Anyway, absolutely love it. It gets overshadowed by The Matrix which came out the following year, but it is fantastic in its own right.

No comments: