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Dark City: a modern classic revisited

May 12, 2009 By: Geek Category: Movies

darkcity 226x300 Dark City: a modern classic revisitedOne of the finest pure science fiction films that has been released in the past couple of decades is Dark City, directed by The Crow/I, Robot/Knowing’s Alex Proyas and starring Kiefer Sutherland and Rufus Sewell. It remains a cult favourite to this day, and with a new version of the film now available, a new generation of fans can discover this dark masterpiece.

The thing is, when the film was initially released back in 1998, it was a commercial failure. Why the hell was it this way? Watch the film again and it is easy to see. The film’s structure doesn’t adhere to the usual conventions of Hollywood production, instead favouring a much or mysterious approach to storytelling. Plus, while it does have Sutherland in it, the film doesn’t have much in the way of stars in its cast.

darkcity2 300x218 Dark City: a modern classic revisited

This is something that worked very much in the film’s favour though. The cast is uniformly excellent, and Richard O’ Brien is terrifying as the lead Stranger.

513MxxmoI5L. SL160  Dark City: a modern classic revisitedConceptually, the Dark City film is very similar to the classic science fiction short story ‘The Tunnel Under The World’ by SF legend Frederik Pohl, in which the inhabitants of a deceptively normal city undergo various ordeals at the hands of unseen hands in the name of experimentation (plus it also features two characters who become wise to what is going on), and even the chilling climax is similar to the final moments of that story, when the true nature of the city is revealed.

Similarities to classic science fiction aside, Dark City is a beautifully made film that holds up very well today. With striking visuals, a great cast and some very powerful direction and editing, Dark City is a film that will be held in greater and greater regard as time goes on.

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