Alex Proyas has invented a darkly beautiful world cobbled together from various historical eras and styles. One man can live one day as a humble pauper and wake up the next living a life of opulence; he fits easily into either existince with the help of the right set dressing and some implanted memories. Is true human nature hidden somewhere, deep under the recesses of those artificial memories, or is man nothing more than a puppet playing whatever part he is given?
Stories that question the nature of reality and identity are not new, especially in the science fiction genre. Many people think “The Matrix” was the first of its kind, but “Dark City” was released a year earlier. Its ideas are presented more eloquently, and I would also argue that “Dark City” is the more visually arresting of the two, although “The Matrix” certainly benefited from staggering advancements in visual f/x.
I’ve long been a fan of Rufus Sewell and was thrilled to see him in a lead role like this. William Hurt is affable and sympathetic as the cop who slowly awakens to the “reality”. Kiefer Sutherland channels a bit of Fritz Lang as Dr. Schreber and Richard O’Brien almost steals the show as the creepy, pasty Mr. Hand.
Anyone craving quality sci-fi will be pleasantly surprised.