A man struggles with memories of his past, which include a wife he cannot remember and a nightmarish world no one else ever seems to wake up from.

Director:

Alex Proyas

Writers:

Alex Proyas (story), Alex Proyas (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,820 ( 13)
12 wins & 19 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 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 ... 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:

Darkness Falls Soon 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene with Murdoch, Bumstead, and Dr. Schreber in the car has been extended for the director's cut. Dr. Schreber gets increasingly frantic until Murdoch psychically forced Dr. Schreber's glasses to begin to melt around his head. It was removed from the theatrical version mainly because Alex Proyas wasn't happy with how the effects look. They were able to redo it with better effects and include it here. See more »

Goofs

(at around 60 mins) The cable supporting John Murdoch when he opens the door and nearly falls down the shaft. 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

References Dick Spanner, P.I. (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Sway
Written by Norman Gimbel and Pablo Beltrán Ruiz
Sung by Anita Kelsey
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User Reviews

A fantastic science-fiction masterpiece!
6 February 1999 | by ChoiBabySee all my reviews

An absolutely brilliant and nightmarish production! DARK CITY is an enriching and surreal experience, full of beautiful images and powerful symbolism.

John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes up one night, resting inside a bathtub. He look around, realizing that he is inside a hotel room. In a state of shock, he finds a bloody corpse lying near his bed. Then...reality sinks in. He discovers an appalling revelation which he cannot accept. He is wanted for murder on six separate accounts. How does all of this fit in when he thought of himself as a completely sane person? He does not believe he was responsible for these murders, but the cops think otherwise as they chase him down... Next, a swarm of humanoid creatures known only as the "Strangers" have summon him. For unknown reasons, Murdoch happens to fit into their intricate schemes for conquest...

This is just scratching the surface of the premise for Alex Proyas' moody and engaging film, DARK CITY. DARK CITY is a very vivid film with an original concept. As the story expands and the main character must go into the heart of the matter, he learns that there's a conspiracy going on "mixing and matching" different identities together into one whole. The Strangers are the masters...the inhabitants are their puppets...and the city is their playground...

DARK CITY essentially has gorgeous photography, capturing aspects of the entire city where imagination paints the picture and provides the details. This film relies a lot on imagery and the fantastic production values are laced with a perplexing storyline that keeps the viewer's eyes glued to the screen. The eye-catching, stylish future noir designs a visionary world, evinced in the setting of the Big Apple itself, New York City during the time period of the 1940s. Dark City's visual backgrounds enliven a difficult and incomprehensible plot to comprehend and the special effects create an astounding experience, traveling into a vortex of mankind's phantasm.

DARK CITY, in addition to the superb background settings, allows for character development as well. The audiences grows greatly in a moment of eagerness as they want to determine what will happen next to the characters in this film. As always, the cast is wonderful. Rufus Sewell is excellent as John Murdoch, convincing as an ordinary man on the run from both the law and the strangers. Jennifer Connelly is sensuous and appealing as Murdoch's loving and concerned wife. William Hurt plays his cards right as a straitlaced NYPD inspector, Frank Bumstead, who keeps pursuing John Murdoch. As an eccentric psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Paul Schreber, Kiefer Sutherland conveys a confused doctor who shares a frightening connection to these Strangers.

DARK CITY is splendid viewing injected with a theme about the loss of identity and the destruction of individualism in order to create an ideal society. DARK CITY is an unforgettable, breathtaking visual experience! This film is enriched with layers of characterization, a plot where there is more than meets the eye, and venturous special effects. DARK CITY is recommended viewing with the lights out! A thoroughly cogent flick which keeps you guessing what is going on. DARK CITY is a fine treat for the eyes and mind. This is one journey where you reach the point of no return!

RATING: *** out of ****.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

WarnerBros.com

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Empire See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,576,953, 1 March 1998

Gross USA:

$14,378,331

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,200,316
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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