Dark City
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Dark City can be found here.

Dark City is based on a story by Australian film-maker Alex Proyas, who also directed the film. It was adapted for the screen by Proyas, English screenwriter Lem Dobbs, and American writer David S. Goyer.

The scenes with "The Strangers" are reminiscent of the Roman council, and certain scenes later in the movie show an amusement park named for and showing Neptune, Roman god of water and the sea. However, those mentions have little to no relevance in the overall plot.

Everything is done in the Special Features menu, using your DVD remote, and is done by searching for hidden images on various pages, in a particular order. ("Play" below is "Enter" on some remotes.) 1) Choose "To Shell Beach," where you are told to find a bloody knife. 2) Go to the "Cast and Crew" menu, choose Kiefer Sutherland, and on the first page you can see the dim outline of a knife. Highlight it and press "Play." It will tell you find the doctor's business card. 3) Go to the first page of the "Neil Gaiman" section and press up to highlight the outline of a business card, then press "Play." It will tell you to look for a picture. 4) Go to the "Metropolis Comparison," choose the "Original Weekly Variety Review," and choose "more" until you see the outline of a postcard. Highlight it, press "Play" and it will tell you to find a shaky souvenir. 5) Go to the "Cast and Crew" menu, choose Trevor Jones in the crew section, and choose "more" until you see the outline of a snowglobe. Highlight it, press "Play" and it will tell you to go find a clock. 6) Go to the "Cast and Crew" menu, choose William Hurt, choose "more" until you find the clock. Highlight it, press "Play," and then it will tell you to find the tool that holds and controls you what you are. 7) Go to "Set Designs," choose "more" until you are at the seventh picture, a picture of a hypodermic needle. Press up to highlight the needle and press "Play." And you're done!

The movie shows one of the few known correct expressions of Last Thursdayism in film history. Such concept, which relates to the Omphalos/Sturgill theory, deals with a recently created reality, which no one can demonstrate as such a thing. Thus, according to the theories, the universe could have been created last Thursday (hence the name) but everything would look as if it were older, and it's impossible to demonstrate it was created in such a way because of the absence of any Easter egg that could serve as evidence. In the movie, the Strangers have been performing experiments on human beings for an unknown period of time, changing reality itself as well as human memories for an unknown number of times before the Murdoch incident, but the constant-changing reality was discovered thanks to an Easter egg they could not change: Mister Murdoch himself.

Given the ambiguous nature of the film, there are just a few details on this subject inside the movie itself. The city could be a Dyson-like structure, designed specifically to provide the Strangers with a medium for their experiments. While we ultimately see a sun, there is no way to discern whether or not it is our own.

While a common objection to the film's continuity, it is never said that every person in the city has new memories implanted each night; in fact, it seems quite unlikely. While the city itself is repeatedly re-tuned every twelve hours (or at least it is during the relatively short period of time shown in the film), it appears that the process of "reprogramming" people with new memories is carried out on a person-by-person basis, with Dr. Schreber personally administering each injection. If every denizen of the city was altered in this way each night, the "sleep" period would have to last for months or even years in order for this to be carried out, and the film shows nothing of this sort. Therefore, it seems evident that only a select few persons are re-implanted on each night. If everyone was given new memories every twelve hours it would also be difficult for the Strangers to collect very much information regarding how a person behaves after each implant, since the persons in question would have only twelve hours in which to demonstrate new behaviors. Director Alex Proyas states as much on the Director's Cut DVD commentary, mentioning that the "rags to riches" couple we see reprogrammed are one of probably several new experiments begun that night, while the Murdoch/Emma/Bumstead dynamic is ongoing and is allowed to play out over time. It's also possible that the characters only think they are remembering the previous day's events, but have still been minutely altered. This is possibly alluded to by the "untied shoelace" incident. Near the start of the film, Bumstead advises another officer that his laces are untied. Later, the same officer advises Bumstead that his laces are untied. It's possible that this means to indicate that this is not the same Bumstead as earlier, and that his and the subordinate's behaviors have been swapped.

It's entirely possible that he does not, in fact, remember it, but might well have learned of it after his enforced self-erasing. He spends most of his time amongst the Strangers, and had obviously learned enough about them to be able to implant Murdoch with the knowledge of how to control their tuning machine. He quite probably learned a great deal about them from their constant company. It's also worth noting that his description of the event, "First there was darkness; then came the Strangers," is very nonspecific in detail. When pressed by Murdoch, he admits that he no longer remembers when this happened, or where the inhabitants of the city originally came from.

Never fully explained, although Dr. Schreiber provides the possible explanation that "he's a step up the evolutionary ladder -- he's adapting to survive." The Strangers also later comment that Murdoch is becoming more similar to them (perhaps this includes his ability to tune).

The Director's Cut, that was released ten years after its theatrical debut, runs approx. 11 minutes longer than the Theatrical Version. In general dozens of minor modifications like short extensions of the dialog oder alternate scenes can be found throughout the movie, whereat some fundamental differences have been included as well, like the spiral subject being a bigger issue in the DC, the distinctly enlarged relationship of Bumstead and Emma and so on. One major change is the removal of the opening narration, which many fans considered to be a spoiler containing information that is delivered better as a surprise later in the film. A very detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 2 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: doctorcrimedog, 48states, elderesek, bj_kuehl, Matt_Hecht

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