Superior science fiction film noir, excellent actors and a riveting story. I love it's atmosphere, characters and it's ending. It also has bizarre unique villains and some of the same ideas as "The Matrix" a whole year before that one premiered. A decade later I got to see the director's cut too, which is superior to the theatrical one as it skips the annoying voice-over and makes the film even better. A masterpiece.
3.5 Despite the evident traces of Gilliam and Jeunet, the film manages to evoke and maintain an atmosphere all of its own. I love films that create a world of their own and challenge the dichotomy of fantasy vs reality, and this one felt particularly nightmarish. Much of the last 1/4 of the film felt a bit too much (especially the fight...), and I had a few other problems with it, but I enjoyed the ride, nonetheless.
Not nearly as concise and perfectly plotted as The Matrix, nor does it really conclude with as meaningful of a message, but none-the-less I did find it to be an interesting meditation on the power of the mind and the way we interpret reality as we exist within it. Stunning imagery.
There's one great movie in every director. For Alex Proyas (now a bonafide Hollywood hack), there were two: THE CROW and DARK CITY. Noir-acolyte and co-writer Lem Dobbs said it best when he called DARK CITY "a pastiche". The Director's Cut is a more somber affair, toning down Trevor Jones' extravagant score and judiciously removing exposition. Films like DARK CITY are emblematic of cinéma fantastique. Iconic, fun.