a man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun and run by beings with telekinetic powers who seek the souls of humans.
dir.: alex proyas
mystery / sci-fi / thriller
rufus sewell as john murdoch
william hurt as inspector frank bumstead
kiefer sutherland as dr. daniel p. schreber
jennifer connelly as emma murdoch / anna
richard o’brien as mr. hand
- new line cinema forced alex proyas to include the opening narration by kiefer sutherland, which proyas objected to, saying it was unnecessary. the narration gives away several key plot twists and consequently many fans of the film prefer to watch it with the sound turned off during the narration until sutherland looks at his pocket watch. unsurprisingly, the director’s cut omits this opening narration.
- there were many deliberate anachronisms to give the viewer a feeling of confusion of the time of the film.
- has one of the shortest average shot lengths (asl) of any modern narrative production at 1.8 seconds. this means there is a cut almost every 2 seconds.
- alex proyas wrote the part of mr. hand especially for richard o’brien.
- an earlier draft of the script had dr. schreber (kiefer sutherland) being skinned alive during the finale.
- inspector bumstead is playing on his accordion in his very first scene in the movie is a soviet wwii era song “siniy platochek” (“blue scarf”).
- the main character, john murdoch, shares the name, and the quest, of a scottish liberal in the 1870s and 1880s. the scottish murdoch led a major campaign for scottish farmers to own their own land.
- the name of kiefer sutherland’s character, daniel schreber, is the same as that of a man who wrote a book titled “memoirs of my nervous illness” during the heights of a period in which he was institutionalized for schizophrenia. the book has become a standard reading for many psychiatrists and psychologists, and many of the theories of both sigmund freud and carl gustav jung were based on it (freud never actually met schreber, though). “dark city” borrows heavily from the concept of “fleetingly-improvised men” which are found within schreber’s “memoirs”.
- roger ebert called this movie the best film of 1998. he recorded a special audio commentary track for the dvd release of the movie.
- alex proyas got the idea for the buildings changing and growing while the crew was moving pieces of the set around during filming of the crow.
- mr. sleep is played by twins, a girl (satya gumbert) and her brother (noah gumbert). both were fond of the rocky horror picture show, and they (and the rest of the cast and crew) were frequently entertained by richard o’brien, who played mr. hand in this film and riff raff in “rocky horror”, with recitations from that film.
melissa george’s movie debut.
- all of the fish in neptune’s kingdom are oscars.
- this film deals with ‘last thursdayism’, a philosophy described in a satiric comment by 20th-century historian bertrand russell, referring to the “omphalos” papers (1857) of philip gosse. last thursdayism says that the world (with us and our own basic memories included) could have been created recently, even last thursday, but we cannot demonstrate such a thing because the world would have been created to look like an older world.