Dark City (1998)
Dr. Schreber: [voiceover] First there was darkness. Then came the strangers. They were a race as old as time itself. They had mastered the ultimate technology. The ability to alter physical reality by will alone. They called this ability "Tuning". But they were dying. Their civilization was in decline, and so they abandoned their world seeking a cure for their own mortality. Their endless journey brought them to a small, blue world in the farthest corner of the galaxy. Our world. Here they thought they had finally found what they had been searching for.
John Murdoch: When was the last time you remember doing something during the day?
Inspector Frank Bumstead: What do you mean?
John Murdoch: I just mean during the day. Daylight. When was the last time you remember seeing it? And I'm not talking about some distant, half-forgotten childhood memory, I mean like yesterday. Last week. Can you come up with a single memory? You can't, can you? You know something, I don't think the sun even... exists... in this place. 'Cause I've been up for hours, and hours, and hours, and the night never ends here.
Mr. Hand: But I wanted to know what it was like... how you feel.
John Murdoch: You know how I was supposed to feel. That person isn't me... never was. You wanted to know what it was about us that made us human. Well, you're not going to find it...
[Murdoch points at his head]
John Murdoch: ...in here. You were looking in the wrong place.
Dr. Schreber: I call them the Strangers. They abducted us and brought us here. This city, everyone in it... is their experiment. They mix and match our memories as they see fit, trying to divine what makes us unique. One day, a man might be an inspector. The next, someone entirely different. When they want to study a murderer, for instance, they simply imprint one of their citizens with a new personality. Arrange a family for him, friends, an entire history... even a lost wallet. Then they observe the results. Will a man, given the history of a killer, continue in that vein? Or are we, in fact, more than the sum of our memories?
John Murdoch: I know this is gonna sound crazy, but what if we never knew each other before now... and everything you remember, and everything that I'm supposed to remember, never really happened, someone just wants us to think it did?
Emma Murdoch: But how can that be true? I so vividly remember meeting you. I remember falling in love with you. I remember losing you.
Emma Murdoch: I love you John, you can't fake something like that.
John Murdoch: No, you can't.
Inspector Frank Bumstead: So Husselbeck, what kind of killer do you think stops to save a dying fish?
Dr. Schreber: You are probably wondering why I keep appearing in your memories, John. It is because I have inserted myself into them.
[Schraber mixes memories]
Dr. Schreber: These do bring back memories. This one is still warm. What is it? The recollections of a great lover? A catalog of conquests? We will soon find out. You wouldn't appreciate that, would you, Mr. Whatever-your-name is? Not the sort of conquest you would ever understand. Let's see, a touch of unhappy childhood, a dash of teenage rebellion, and last but not least, a tragic death in the family.
Mr. Hand: There used to be a ferry when I was a boy. Biggest thing you ever saw, lit up like a floating birthday cake.
Emma Murdoch: That's just what my husband once said to me on this very spot.
Mr. Hand: Where is your husband now?
Emma Murdoch: I wish I knew. What brings you here?
Mr. Hand: I met my wife at this place.
Emma Murdoch: It's where I first met my husband.
Mr. Hand: Small world.
John Murdoch: Excuse me. How do I get to the end of the line?
Train Passenger: You want the Express.
John Murdoch: [after train blows by him] Hey, how come that train didn't stop?
Station Master: That's the Express.
[Murdoch opens the door to what should be Shell Beach and instead sees the same sign he saw earlier advertising it. Murdoch walks up to the sign, confused]
Dr. Schreber: There is no ocean, John. There is nothing beyond the city. The only place home exists... is in your head.
[Chuckles a bit at the irony]
Dr. Schreber: [Murdoch and Inspector Bumstead tear the sign from the wall, exposing bricks. They then begin to hammer at the bricks with pickaxes]
Dr. Schreber: No! No! John, stop! No! Stop! Please! No!
[Bumstead and Murdoch reach a soft spot in the bricks and begin to pry at it. John, frustrated, uses his tuning to push away the brick wall. What results is the bricks falling away exposing space, almost sucking Bumstead out and showing the bricks crashing against the ship's newly exposed forcefield. Murdoch and Bumstead stand there, stunned. Meanwhile, a group of aliens walks in from behind them]
John Murdoch: What?
Mr. Hand: And now you know the truth.
John Murdoch: I was just thinking, what you do seems kind of dangerous right now. I mean, how do you know I'm not the killer?
May: I don't. Why, you feeling any urges I should know about?
Mr. Hand: I have become the monster you were intended to be.
John Murdoch: Here, let me ask you a question. You heard of a place called Shell Beach?
Inspector Frank Bumstead: Sure.
John Murdoch: Do you know how to get there?
Inspector Frank Bumstead: Yeah.
John Murdoch: Tell me.
Inspector Frank Bumstead: Right. You just... you go to the...
John Murdoch: Where? Where do you go?
Inspector Frank Bumstead: Just give me a second, will you...
John Murdoch: You can't remember, can you?
Walenski: I've been trying to remember things, CLEARLY remember things, from my past, but the more I try to think back, the more it all starts to unravel. None of it seems real. It's like I've just been dreaming this life, and when I finally wake up, I'll be somebody else. Somebody totally different!
Inspector Frank Bumstead: You saw something, didn't you, Eddie? Something to do with the case.
Walenski: There is no case! There never was! It's all just a big joke! It's a joke!
[At the final tuning]
Mr. Book: SHUT IT DOWN! SHUT IT DOWN FOREVER!
[from the director's cut]
Mr. Hand: We're very lucky when you think about it.
Emma Murdoch: I'm sorry?
Mr. Hand: To be able to revisit those places which have meant so very much to us.
Emma Murdoch: I thought it was more that we were haunted by them.
Mr. Hand: Perhaps. But imagine a life Alien to yours. In which you memories were not your own, but those shared by every other of you kind. Imagine the torment of such an existence....no experiences to call your own.
Emma Murdoch: If it was all you knew, maybe it would be a comfort.
Mr. Hand: But if you were to discover something different...Something....better.
Emma Murdoch: I'm Anna, by the way. What's your name?
John Murdoch: John. John Murdoch.
Mr. Hand: [stomps on a newspaper clipping] So it seems you discovered your unpleasant nature.
John Murdoch: Who are you?
Mr. Hand: We might ask the same question, yes? Sleep... now.
Mr. Wall: She knows nothing, Mr. Hand.
Mr. Hand: A dead end... Yes, Mr. Wall?
Mr. Wall: We thought his imprint would allow us to track him, but instead we have been brought here. This is irrational.
Mr. Hand: Instincts are irrational, Mr. Wall, and we must follow where they lead... Yes?
Mr. Rain: Mr. Sleep suggests that he might go to places familiar... His job...
[is interrupted by Mr. Hand]
Mr. Hand: He does not care about our job...
[is interrupted by Mr. Wall]
Mr. Wall: Indulge us, Mr. Hand. If you were Murdoch... Yes?
Mr. Hand: If I were Murdoch... I would remember how my wife had hurt me by sleeping with another man. And then, I would look for a way to hurt her in return... Leave me alone with her
Mr. Hand: , there is work to be done.
Mr. Wall: Do not fret, Anna. I will give you some more pretty things soon.
Emma Murdoch: I'm not Anna.
Mr. Wall: You will be soon, yes.
[at the murder scene]
Inspector Frank Bumstead: What's that make so far, Husselbeck? Six hookers in all?
Husselbeck: I believe so, sir.
Inspector Frank Bumstead: Give the man an "A" for effort.
Husselbeck: Everything Detective Walenski committed to paper should be here.
Inspector Frank Bumstead: The only thing that should be committed is Wolenski.
John Murdoch: Hey, do you know the way to Shell Beach?
Taxi Driver: You're kidding! Me and the Mrs. spent our honeymoon there. All you gotta do is take Main Street West to... or is it the Cross... You know, that's funny, I can't remember if it's Main Street West or the Crosstown.
[after Mr. Hand is imprinted with Murdoch's memories]
Mr. Book: Is it done?
Mr. Hand: Oh yes, Mr. Book. I have John Murdoch in mind.
[Emma notices Bumstead's accordian]
Emma Murdoch: It's beautiful.
Inspector Frank Bumstead: It was a gift from my mother. She died recently. I keep it with me to remind me of her.
Emma Murdoch: I'm sorry.
Inspector Frank Bumstead: It's a funny thing, though. I can't remember WHEN she gave it to me. How do you think I could forget a thing like this?
[after overhearing a phone call between Emma and Karl]
Mr. Hand: Karl. Uncle Karl. Haven't seen you in so long. Yes.
Dr. Schreber: You still don't understand, John. You were never a boy. Not in this place.
Dr. Schreber: It appears that John has suffered a psychotic break. Complete memory loss. He may be delusional. Even violent. Emma, if he were to contact you, and I suspect he will, you must call me immediately. Do you understand? It is imperative that I be the first one to reach him. Wherever you husband is, he is searching... for himself.
Dr. Schreber: Listen to me, John. You have their power. You can make things happen by will alone. They call it "Tuning." That is how they make the buildings change. Just now you acted out of self-defense, a reflex. But I can teach you to control your power consciously. Let me help you, John. Together We can stop them, we can take the city back.
Dr. Schreber: When they first brought us here, they extracted what was in us and stored the information, remixed it like so much paint, and gave us back new memories of their choosing. But they still needed an artist to help them. I understood the human mind better than they ever could, so they allowed me to keep my skills as a scientist... because they needed them. They made me delete everything else. Can you imagine what it's like to erase your own past?