User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 75
  2. Negative: 1 out of 75

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  1. Jan 14, 2012
    10
    great sc-fi film, really interesting. the plot isnt too complex, and they tell you wants happening. the acting is good, although i didnt like Kiefer Sutherland character at first but he grew on me. (spoiler ahead) [[a nice twist, that i wasnt expecting.]] i highly recommend it, can think of anything wrong with.
  2. Jan 23, 2012
    10
    One of the best sci-fi films ever made. Intricate plot and well explained also, genius quality. Simply amazing movie with awesome visuals and great acting too.
  3. Nov 30, 2012
    9
    A visually arresting, mysterious science-fiction "noir" detective story. As the plot develops, the viewer is confronted with questions about the very essence of humanity, and whether our world is really so real as we think. Very re-watchable!
  4. Dec 16, 2011
    9
    I really enjoyed this film. The fact that it was free, on Netflix Canada, certainly helped as well. All the same, it was very well done. Apart from that, I don't know what else to say.
  5. Nov 17, 2012
    8
    Has a visionary coherence that echoes the late, great Stanley Kubrick. I do feel that it ended too quickly. I was entranced, and wanted to see more of the fascinating and haunting world Dark City was showing me.
  6. 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.
  7. Jan 27, 2013
    7
    An imaginative sci-fi thriller with sensational production values/special effects--a vast noir metropolis landscape that seems to exist in an alternate time line, with elements of our present and past combined with visions from a futuristic comic book. 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 entertaining surprises. Director Alex Proyas rewrites movie rules, making its stand on visuals alone. It is hypnotic, haunting, and to be sure, dark. And there's nothing wrong with a movie that is simply sensational to look at.
    "Dark City" opens by immersing the audience in the midst of a fractured, nightmarish narrative. The protagonist, who later learns that his name is John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), has amnesia. He begins his "awaking" as a full-grown adult naked in a bath tub, uncertain of how he got there. His only company in his hotel room is the nude body of a dead prostitute. Much like that plot, the main character here, and the audience as well, is thrown into the story without any idea of what's really happening. It's an effective tool as it puts the audience on a level playing field with the main character with similar motives.
    Suddenly, Murdoch receives a phone call from a man named Dr. Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland), who claims to have his best interests at heart. Schreber warns him to get out of the hotel immediately. Soon, without a clue about his identity, Murdoch is fleeing from phantom-like creatures with supreme mental powers. When cornered, Murdoch discovers he is not defenseless against his enemies -- his mind, like theirs, can shape reality, although he doesn't understand how to harness his abilities. Soon, his quest to unearth his past links him up with Emma (Jennifer Connelly), a woman who is supposedly his wife, and Police Inspector Bumstead (William Hurt), who believes Murdoch to be innocent of the prostitute's murder. But Murdoch's small group of allies offer little help when it comes to dealing with his powerful, ghoulish adversaries, the amoral Mr. Book (Ian Richardson) and Mr. Hand (Richard O'Brien).
    While the story does slightly deal with the main character's memories coming back to him, that's what is really missing. Movies like this usually have those feint images of the past holding the key to unlocking the mystery, but this film's more concerned with the thought of memories being erased and/or passed around, then with what's actually inside those thoughts. The film's storyline is a bit weak but manages to remain intriguing by informing and evolving "on-the-go", though the ending is a bit of a disappointment. Alex Proyas once again delivers a phenomenal spectacle by creating a somber, despairing ambiance set in "Dark City". "Dark City'' is a cinematic experience-- it is a triumph of art direction, set design, cinematography, and special effects.
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  8. Mar 15, 2013
    8
    I love this movie. Unique and interestingly presented. The plot does get a little to complicated and rushed at times, but that aside it's still a great movie. To be honest it feels like it should have been longer and that they really cut it down.
  9. Jan 28, 2013
    9
    The Atmosphere is incredible. The characters are out of this world.
    The storyline is OUT-WORLDLY! This review is going to sound like an 80's movie trailer isn't it? (Just kidding).
    If you're a fan of Hell-Raiser (or even film-noir) , you'd really enjoy this.
  10. Aug 30, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It isn't one of those science fiction movies that can be overlooked. It has better effects than The Matrix yet no one gives it the same credit. The movie is extremely fast paced and gives you almost no chances to breathe. The plot can be very confusing but it is very well done. I find it one of the best. Expand
  11. Jan 9, 2014
    8
    Though Dark City starts off terribly with poor acting and a disorienting pace, the movie improves vastly as it goes along, and eventually becomes a deep, engrossing film (with amazing acting) that was entertaining and thought-provoking. However, do not think this means the film spares any expense to deliver thrilling action and graphics that, despite looking terrible now, were amazing at the time of release and do not throw off the movie even now. Overall, I recommend it to science fiction fans, particularly those who loved the themes and cinematic elements of The Matrix Trilogy, as this movie is very similar in both (though slightly poorer with the graphics since it was released before The Matrix). Expand
  12. Feb 10, 2014
    7
    If you like a thriller filled with action , mystery and suspense then you’ll love “Dark City.”
    The film is about a man called J. Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) who wakes up one night at the scene of a grisly murder with no memory. After this horrific awakening questions soon start to arise like why is there no daylight in the city, where he’s awoken? Who are these pale men who seem to control
    everything? And, most importantly, is J. Murdoch really capable of murder? Even though these questions bring in a theme of mystery at times they also leave the viewer feeling confused and disinterested. But the suspense and action more than make up for this mistake.
    One of my favourite suspense-filled action scenes is where J. Murdoch is getting chased across rooftops by these strange pale men. The special effects in this scene fill it suspense and horror, which will leave you on the edge of your seat. And the slow-motion camera effects are used in a very good way when J. Murdoch jumps from roof to roof.
    In this film Rufus Sewell also shows that he is a very good actor by showing us that not only can he play the role of a bad guy like he does in “A Knight’s Tale,” but he can also play the role of a good guy.
    I would recommend this film to anyone who likes action films with a bit mystery and would this film 7/10.
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  13. Jun 15, 2014
    7
    *Dark city will take you on a very weird ride...*

    I've seen this film several times now and the same conclusion arises at the end "Odd". The story itself is very good and you are never really sure where its going next, set in a dark, gothic metropolis city it is sure to have your skin crawl at the depressing atmosphere. It certainty takes more than a sprinkling of 1920/30 detective
    films with it, although that where the similarity's end.

    But that is not a negative, you will find this film quite indulgent always wanting to see where the next turn takes you. Have I mentioned this is a dark, gothic film already? Yes, well I thought I better mention it again as you will need the curtains drawn to watch this film.

    The characters are played well with the villains making you feel less than comfortable. A worth while gothic adventure for them lonely nights.
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  14. Jun 26, 2014
    9
    Dark City has a great mystery to unravel and impressive special effects. Alex Proyas created a classic comic book movie with The Crow in 1994 and Dark City is among his best work. The movie has strangers who control the citizens of the city, there is no sun and the main character is trying to remember who he is because he has amnesia. Only one person can stop the beings that rule the city and his name is John Murdoch. Overall a very unique movie with wonderful acting and directing. 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. 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.