Dark City

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 135 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 1 out of 135

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User Reviews

  1. YoonMinC.
    Oct 1, 2003
    5
    A shameless sci-fi ripoff of noir, gothic, fascist, and dystopian(mainly Orwellian totalitarian)imagery, this film is overcast under(or eclipsed by)heavyhanded use of style and humorless buggyeyed execution. A bunch of extraterrestial cousins of Nosferatu with jellyfish brains and whiplashed necks manipulate the memories of humans to figure out the essence of the soul in order to save A shameless sci-fi ripoff of noir, gothic, fascist, and dystopian(mainly Orwellian totalitarian)imagery, this film is overcast under(or eclipsed by)heavyhanded use of style and humorless buggyeyed execution. A bunch of extraterrestial cousins of Nosferatu with jellyfish brains and whiplashed necks manipulate the memories of humans to figure out the essence of the soul in order to save their race from extinction(couldn't they find a Pscyhology 101 textbook instead?). From what disease, you ask? How about from the boredom of being stuck in this movie? There's a nasty little kid among these vampire like critters but why only one? For effect, of course, but then this movie has nothing beyond effects, special, stylistic, or otherwise. The concept is, by now, a staple of sci-fi, with implications that are spiritual and political as well as scientific or Phenomenological. But, this movie, like the Japanese anime Akira, is too stupid to develop these themes and instead degenerates into a series of chases, fight sequences, and a final battle on the level of yoda and dooku tossing ever bigger objects at one another. This telepathic power is called 'tuning' and too bad one can't tune off this awful mess but there is the remote control... And, yet the movies isn't entirely without virtue. First, there is the obvious ambition, which in our summer blockbuster saturated culture, counts for something. There's also the commitment from actors; William Hurt is particularly good though Kiefer Sutherland is unconving as geek doctor and hollow cheeked Jude Law is shallow and lackluster as the Chosen One. Jennifer Connelly, though hardly a talent, has grace and beauty and knows how to use them. The CGI effects, though not overwhelming and even murky, stretch into something resembling boldness though never originality. And, it's generally well-paced and suspenseful enough if you want to tune your mind off. A sci-fi in the Terry Gilliam mode, excessive and inflated but hollow. Finally, I think it would have been more interesting not to have vilified the vampire folk and their agenda, for after all, they are only seeking survival. Their means may be evil but their impulse surely isn't. Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    5
    Although some of the thematic elements are pretty intriguing, "Dark City" is significantly held down by its rather silly stylistic elements and some hit or miss writing.
  3. Apr 13, 2015
    5
    Dark City is a great film in some areas and a bad film in others. The strongest thing this one brings to the table is the concept. Entirely riveting in that regard, the world created by Alex Proyas is a very interesting one worthy of being evaluated further. The lighting and production design here are great and the acting all-around is stellar. So, then why did I not like it? Well, theDark City is a great film in some areas and a bad film in others. The strongest thing this one brings to the table is the concept. Entirely riveting in that regard, the world created by Alex Proyas is a very interesting one worthy of being evaluated further. The lighting and production design here are great and the acting all-around is stellar. So, then why did I not like it? Well, the writing left much to be desired. The way the story came together and was written took the concept and world created and made it seem boring and worthless. The good acting and direction was wasted on pretty poorly done dialogue. I still appreciate all the positives in this one and wish the end result was better, but sadly, it was not. As a whole, I was expecting a lot more in terms of thrills and drama from this one, but all I saw was a screenplay fumble a great idea and tear down the rest of the movie with it. The positives make this one worth watching though, which is more than you can say for a lot of movies. Expand
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    75
    Proyas' movie lacks a truly rich or compelling story -- although the city secret is certainly a rich and compelling idea. All too often, Dark City seems a great production design in search of a movie, an ultimate modern film noir pastiche, in which the images are so strong they overpower the drama. [27 Feb 1998]
  2. Dark City grabs your eyeballs and squeezes.
  3. So relentlessly trippy in a fun-house sort of way that it could very easily inspire a daredevil cult of moviegoers who go back again and again to experience its mind-bending twists and turns. Although its story doesn't add up when you analyze it afterward, the movie does take you on a visually arresting ride that offers many unsettling surprises right up to a sentimental sunburst of an ending that has a paranoid undertone.