Friday, September 18, 2015

Forgotten Friday Flick - 'Dark City' -

Dark City

With October and Halloween right around the corner, it felt like the right time to start delving deeper into dark and sinister cinematic stories – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week we’re going back to a serious stylistic little tale of murder, mayhem and aliens – odd bedfellows for sure.  But from the mind and eye of one of the most visually gifted directors working and featuring a cool cast, it’s a flick that most who see it will not likely forget.  We shed some well-deserved light onto the…"Dark City!"

Dark City 

Groggy, wet and confused, John Murdoch wakes up in the tub and finds he has no memory of how he got there.  But as he walks out of the bathroom and into the main hotel room and spots a dead body, he knows things aren’t good.  Seems there are some strange happenings going on around John – some of which cannot be explained.  This includes odd world shifting encounters with a group of pale white men dressed in black baddies known as The Strangers, hearing tall tales from a local doctor and psychiatrist and even trying to dodge his beautiful wife and a street smart detective who are both out for the truth.

Confused?  Well, it’s partially the wonderful complex story, but also my desire to keep all key information under wraps.  There’s so much layering, so many wonderful twists and turns within the world of "Dark City" that if you have not experienced it you need to go in as puzzled as Rufus Sewell’s Murdoch.  It’s actually half the fun of the film – learning the secrets the same time as everyone in the film.  And with the cast of characters in fine form it’s one interesting journey to make including Sewell as the muddled Murdoch, Kiefer Sutherland as the wormy psychiatrist, Richard O’Brien as the mysterious Mr. Hand, Jennifer Connelly as the Murdoch’s fetching wife and especially the sullen Wiliam Hurt as no-nonsense Inspector Frank Bumstead all help paint the city in stark dark colors.

Dark City

The other half of the fun comes straight from the visual style of Director Alex Proyas who never met a frame of footage he couldn’t make lush.  Taking the picture potential he had with "The Crow" and matching it with a complex story befitting of his eye for the fantastic, Proyas is so in his element with "Dark City" and it’s by far his most ambitious and hands down best work to date.  Every color, every set, every character, every nuance here is mired in marvelous murky allure – a new world created right before the audiences eyes.

There was an even more character detailed Director’s Cut that came out a few years after, but frankly it was like adding extra whip cream to a sundae that already satisfied.  Plus Proyas himself tried to head back down the sci-fi road with the ho-hum "I, Robot," but a surface story kept it from being anything other than a mild distraction.  No, it’s the combo off all of the above that gave "Dark City" an edge.  A movie that prided itself on bucking the conventional, this was one city true films fans dreamed of dying in.      

Dark City 


   Stars: 5

   Genre: Sci-Fi / Drama

   Cast: Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland

   Director: Alex Proyas

   Rating: R

   Running Time: 100 Minutes

   Release Company: New Line Cinema



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