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
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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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Here's most of the differences between the 1998 theatrical version and the 2008 director's cut:
The opening narration with Dr. Schreber's voice has been omitted in the director's cut
A bunch of the shots with John tuning have been altered/replaced
A new subplot is added with John's unusual spiral-shaped fingerprints and how he's "evolved"
Some of the effects with the Strangers "true form" have been tweaked with
The color timing was altered to a more green and yellow tint, compared to the blue and gray tinting from the theatrical version
During all of Emma's singing scene's, you can now hear Jennifer Connelly's voice instead of Anita Kelsey's voice from the theatrical version
The shots in the opening where it shows the city about to fall asleep have been moved to a later part of the film
The opening scene in the bathtub has been extended
Some of the shots showing the dead hooker are alternative shots
The scene in the lobby has been extended with entirely new shots, including a shot where a lady falls from a phone booth due to her unconsciousness
The shot with John leaving the hotel has been extended
The shots with the scene when the hotel owner enters John's room and encounters the Strangers have been extended and re-arranged
The scene when Emma is in Schreber's office contain alternative shots and alternate dialogue
The shots of when we first see Bumstead playing the accordion have been re-arranged and extended
Dialogue was added when Bumstead investigates the victim and contain alternative shots
Extra dialogue between Emma and Bumstead
It's revealed that the hooker John goes to also has a daughter, thereby giving a different motive for his departure
Extra shots of when John goes up to the billboard
When John is up on the billboard, in the theatrical version he goes through some of the newspaper clippings and continues to stand up while doing so. However, in the director's cut, he sits down after examining some of them looking a lot more shocked.
Some dialogue was added at when Mr. Book is speaking to all the other Strangers in their lair
Extra dialogue between Emma and Bumstead while in his car
Alternative shots and extra/alternative dialogue of when we see Emma get out of the shower and sees John sitting down
Extra dialogue between Schreber and Bumstead
Extra dialogue between Mr. Hand and Screber plus the addition of shots with John watching the conversation going on between them and John checking out Schreber's bag
Extra dialogue between Mann and Frau while having dinner
Extra dialogue between Schreber and Mr. Hand
When the Strangers have another meeting in their lair, extra dialogue was added and also contain alternative shots
Alternative shot of when John sees the newspaper salesmen and remembers that he was also the hotel owner
When Walenski confronts John about there being no way out, Walenski has an extra line of dialogue in the theatrical version, "You're not a killer. They set you up with a fake identity, Iike everyone else here."
Extra dialogue between Emma and Mr. Hand
The scene of when John is looking through photos of his "past" contain longer shots
Extra dialogue between Emma and Bumstead
A new scene was added showing the dead hooker's daughter hiding under the bed
The scene when Bumstead confronts John contains alternate shots
Extra dialogue between John and Emma
Extra dialogue between John and Schreber along with alternative shots
The entire scene with John, Bumstead, and Schreber in the car has been extended with extra dialogue, contain alternative shots, and add a scene where John uses his tuning against Schreber to force him to help John and Bumstead find Shell Beach
Schreber gives extra dialogue when explaining why they're in the city
A bunch of the shots during the duel between John and Mr. Book have been tweaked with
In the theatrical version after the fight, John says to Schreber, "I'm gonna fix things"
John Mudoch (Rufus Sewell) awakes in a bathtub completely naked, with blood dripping down his forehead, unaware of what is happening, he remembers nothing. In the next room he finds a dead body and a blood stained knife. What follows is john trying to piece together what is happening to him and what he unravels is one of the greatest science fiction stories ever put to film. There is a group called the strangers who have an ability to physically change surroundings of them and the people living in the city, they call this ability "tuning". They soon discover that john also has this ability, which is impossible as it would take a normal human a few lifetimes to gain the ability to "tune". Thats the most i can tell without giving away major plot points.
The movie is set in a 1940ish looking city where detectives are hunting John, along with the mysterious strangers. The tall buildings and the knowledge that the strangers could be anywhere in the city gives a menacing ambiance, heightening the tension in the movie and giving off a great effect on the viewer. The special effects in Dark City are stunning and realistic, especially when certain characters use "tuning".
Rufus Sewell gives a good performance as John Murdoch, though i could'nt help feeling he was holding back somewhat. I could think of a few other actors who could have gave a much better performance but he was generally good.
Kiefer Sunderland as Dr. Daniel Schreber was very good and seemed to have put all of his effort into his character, its quite an unusual role for Sunderland but he pulls it off pretty well.
Another performance worth mentioning is Richard O'Brien as Mr Hand, he gives a genuinely creepy performance as one of the main strangers, i thought i would see him and think crystal maze through all of his scenes but he does a pretty good job of playing a convincing character.
Overall the movie leaves a few unanswered questions, leaving the viewer to conduct their own theories about the outcome of events. I have a good grasp of the story as a whole but some people will find bits and pieces confusing. A great film anyways, i gave it an 8 because it tends to drag in some spots, but the end makes up for all doubts.
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