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Laramie Movie Scope:

Dark City

A must-see for true science fiction fans

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 1, 1998 -- Us hard-core science fiction fans have tough time finding real science fiction movies like "Gattaca." Even though there are plenty of films that claim to be science fiction, most of them turn out to be horror movies ("Event Horizon," "Alien Resurrection"). Here's one that comes pretty close, "Dark City."

You won't find many films more dedicated to style than "Dark City." The fantastic production design by George Liddle and Patrick Tatopoulos overwhelms everything. The cinematography by Dariusz Wolski and music by Trevor Jones are very haunting. The overall effect is that of a sort of sci-fi film noir, as critic Roger Ebert calls it.

William Hurt plays detective Bumstead (Dagwood?) in the film. Hey, it's film noir, you have to have a detective, a detective who wears a hat and drives a car from the 1950's yet. Bumstead is on the trail of a serial killer in a city where the sun never shines, where all roads lead nowhere and where no one can remember their past.

At the witching hour, midnight, everyone falls asleep and while they sleep, the city changes. New buildings arise out of nothing, old buildings disappear. It is a fantastic altering of reality, but only one man sees it, John Murdock (Rufus Sewell, of the 1996 version of "Hamlet" and "Carrington"). For some reason, he does not sleep and he also has the power to change reality with his mind.

The movie, written and directed by Alex Proyas never explains why Murdock doesn't sleep or why he has the power to alter reality, but other than that, the film holds up pretty well as a science fiction mystery as Murdock and Bumstead probe the mysteries of the dark city and uncover its secrets. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)