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Dark City/(SE)/B,A-

New Line/1998/96m/ANA,WS 2.35,.FS1.33

      Somewhere in the future there's a world controlled by The Strangers. They have extraordinary powers to create and change physical reality. But they are a dying race and they need to understand human beings in order to evolve into a more durable species. And so they experiment, stop time, grow buildings, change memories, meld new and old lives. Together, The Strangers harness their power through communal "tuning."
     John Murdoch is the wild card. An experiment gone astray, Murdoch presents a threat to the world of The Strangers. They must find him, understand what went wrong, and correct the situation. The police are after John Murdoch too as a suspect in a grizzly series of sex murders. The story by director and co-writer Alex Proyas struggles a bit too hard in creating a world that borrows style and substance from attractive film periods. The "noir" elements are strictly heavy handed, but you've got to admire the effort.
     Director Proyas and his team deliver some stunning visual effects. While The Strangers perform their communal creating they seem a sea of floating faces. Morphing cityscapes are brilliantly realized by the special effects team.
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Shades of Metropolis ©New Line

     The darkness of this DVD is unrelenting. The few scenes containing daylight are brief, either in flashback or real time. If I have one reservation about the quality of the image: I think it might have been transferred slightly brighter. Now, I understand, that director Proyas is working in shadows and the dark areas of human existence. Some of the subtle lighting effects are spectacular on the DVD. This is a powerful soundtrack that contributes bringing the stunning images to a greater reality.
     Dark City is presented in a full blown special edition. There are two audio commentaries. On track one, film critic Roger Ebert points out many historical film references contained in the film. Ebert's observations are knowledgeable and delivered in entertaining fashion. Commentary track two features Proyas, writers Lem Dobbs and David Goyer, Direrctor of Photography Darius Wolski and Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos. Other features include comparisons to Fritz Lang's Metropolis and a Shell Beach Interactive Game.

filmhead1.gif (2331 bytes)  1998 Stuart J. Kobak , all rights reserved.