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Dark City (1998)

Trailer
2:14 | Trailer
A man struggles with memories of his past, which includes a wife he cannot remember, and a nightmarish world, no one else seems to be waking up from.

Director:

Alex Proyas

Writers:

Alex Proyas (story), Alex Proyas (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,711 ( 33)
12 wins & 18 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:

They built the city to see what makes us tick. Last night one of us went off. 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

Melissa George's movie debut. See more »

Goofs

The wire that pulls the stranger up on the roof in front of John is clearly visible for a moment. 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

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"
See more »

Connections

References Scooby Doo, Where Are You! (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

The Night Has 1000 Eyes
Written by Marilyn Garrett, Dorothy Wayne (as Dottie Wayne) and Ben Weisman
Sung by Anita Kelsey
See more »

User Reviews

 
Confusing at first but ultimately fantastic
11 May 2005 | by Barry_DelaneySee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

WarnerBros.com

Country:

Australia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Empire 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

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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