A few days ago I finally saw the 1998 science fiction cult classic Dark City, and it was pretty awesome. So here are 8 reasons to see it, if you are into that sort of thing. And by that sort of thing, I mean dark, well-crafted science fiction parables about life and human nature.
1. Awesome trailer, including taglines like “In a world where night never ends, where man has no past, and humanity has no future…”
2. It was directed by Alex Proyas, the same guy who did The Crow, which I haven’t seen since high school but remember being pretty cool back then (particularly the scene of the Crow running on a rooftop while a NIN cover of “Dead Souls” by Joy Division is playing). So, 90s high school comic-geek nostalgia, which I know is high on most people’s agenda.
3. Speaking of nostalgia, Dark City revolves in large part around a guy trying to get back to his childhood, which he remembers as happy, as opposed to his current life, which is not. It also raises the insightful but depressing question of whether things we remember fondly were ever actually as good as we remember. (Answer: they were not, but there’s still hope!)
4. Kiefer Sutherland, aka Jack Bauer, is in it, doing his best impression of Igor (as in, Frankenstein’s helper) as a mad scientist. I can’t tell if he is brilliantly cast in this role, or horribly miscast. It’s definitely not in between. I think it all depends on your sense of irony.
5. It’s actually quite intelligent and clever– as DZ put it, “like a really good, long episode of the Twilight Zone”. Sort of The Chronicles of Riddick meets The Truman Show, as long as you think like me that Riddick was one of the better movies of the past decade. Which I am sure you do. The basic plot of Dark City deals quite powerfully with the paranoid but also deeply Christian idea that our lives are much worse than they seem, more than we are even aware. Happy ending though, which is always nice, and also Christian.
6. Great set design and atmosphere, inspired by German expressionist movies like Metropolis, Nosferatu, and M, though especially Metropolis. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow‘s got nothing on Dark City.
7. It has a brilliant and theologically powerful (to me) resolution to a relationship torn by adultery. Imputation really taken seriously. Oh yeah, and Jennifer Connelly is in it, but don’t worry it’s not like Requiem for a Dream. [Dark City does have a little nudity however, you have been warned]
8. [Spoiler alert] Finally, and most importantly, really cool psychic mind-battle finale.