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Dark City (1998)

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A man struggles with memories of his past, which includes a wife he cannot remember, and a nightmarish world without a sun.

Director:

Alex Proyas

Writers:

Alex Proyas (story), Alex Proyas (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,262 ( 13)
10 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rufus Sewell ... John Murdoch
William Hurt ... Inspector Frank Bumstead
Kiefer Sutherland ... Dr. Daniel P. Schreber
Jennifer Connelly ... Emma Murdoch
Richard O'Brien ... Mr. Hand
Ian Richardson ... Mr. Book
Bruce Spence ... Mr. Wall
Colin Friels ... Walenski
John Bluthal ... Karl Harris
Mitchell Butel Mitchell Butel ... Husselbeck
Melissa George ... May
Frank Gallacher Frank Gallacher ... Stromboli
Ritchie Singer ... Hotel Manager / Vendor
Justin Monjo Justin Monjo ... Taxi Driver
Nicholas Bell ... Mr. Rain
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Storyline

John Murdoch awakens alone in a strange hotel to find that he has lost his memory and is wanted for a series of brutal and bizarre murders. While trying to piece together his past, he stumbles upon a fiendish underworld controlled by a group of beings known as The Strangers who possess the ability to put people to sleep and alter the city and its inhabitants. Now Murdoch must find a way to stop them before they take control of his mind and destroy him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are not who you think you are See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark City See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,576,953, 1 March 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,378,331

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,821,985
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

New Line Cinema forced Alex Proyas to include the opening narration by Kiefer Sutherland, which gives away several plot reveals. Proyas objected to it, saying it was unnecessary, and he subsequently removed the narration from his director's cut. See more »

Goofs

(at around 57 mins) Although when John Murdoch jumps across the roofs, he jumps onto the same roof twice, in this city it's quite possible for there to be two identical roofs. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
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 ...
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Alternate Versions

The director's cut omits the opening monologue. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ryan vs. Dorkman (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Chale Bleu
Written by François Perchat (as Francois Perchat)
Sung by Anita Kelsey
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Timeless Cult Sci-Fi Noir that Has not Aged
3 April 2016 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In an undefined time and place, a group of aliens called "Strangers" are dying in their planet and are experimenting new options of life with humans.

A amnesiac man awakens in a bathtub and receives a phone call from a Dr. Daniel Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland) warning him that he should leave the hotel room since he will be captured. Before leaving the room, he finds the corpse of a woman and a knife. Soon a group of Strangers hunts him down but he succeeds to escape. Before leaving the hotel, the front desk informs that his wallet is in a restaurant. He retrieves his wallet and learns that his name is John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) and is married with Emma (Jennifer Connely). He is followed by the persistent police inspector Frank Burnstead (William Hurt) that believes he is a serial- killer. Murdich also learns that he has uncontrolled powers called tuning similar to the Strangers and he flees using the powers. Murdoch notes that the city does not have daylight and every midnight the Strangers rearrange the city and change the people memories. Further, everybody knows the coastal town Shell Beach by heart but nobody knows how to go there. He teams up with Burnstead and Emma and apparently Dr. Schreber is the only human who knows what is happening in the city. What will be the fate of the humans in the hands of the Strangers?

"Dark City" is a timeless cult sci-fi noir that has not aged and uses references from other films that perfectly works. The noir style is a tribute to the period between 1939 and 1950; the "Strangers" and the Gothic style are visibly inspired in "Nosferatu" and "Metropolis"; the aliens that take the human bodies are inspired in 'Body Snatchers". Further, it certainly has influenced "Matrix" that was released one year later. The cinematography and special effects are astonishing and the performances are top-notch. Like a wine, this film seems to be better as years go by. Fortunately the writers and director have not been seduced with the success and there is no sequel of this little masterpiece. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Cidade das Sombras" ("City of the Darkness")


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