Dark City (1998)
A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun.
I'm glad I didn't read the description before I actually watched this movie. Or see the movie cover above. It's such a spoiler. When it all begins you have no idea it's not just a regular hotel room he wakes in, in a regular hotel, in regular New York. It starts normal, and the build-up after that was the best part. I love how the truth dawns on you slowly, even if the mystery wanes away more and more with each scene...
It didn't fully hit me until the end, but when it hits it hits! Some of the lines seem a bit cheesy there, by the ocean spray, and the battle of special effects towards the end almost lost it's edge, but up till that point I was impressed! A pre-millennium movie building up such a gigantic sci-fi world, twisting buildings, twisting the very fabric of time and space - and doing so in a believable way. It takes a while before we're fully taken outside the confines of our world, but when we get there...
It's a strange movie. Matrix vibes. Rufus Sewell reminds of the guy from The Crow. The filming's dark and atmospheric. For a while it's more thriller than sci-fi, but as it progresses it changes in rapid steps. I felt like certain bits were a cliche of the times: how they talked, how they acted. The ending was beautiful but didn't really go as far as I wanted it to. For a while I thought he might become God, and create a whole world out of the city. I was expecting a loss, or a sacrifice, or a win on a bigger scale... and so the end came as somewhat of a disappointment after such an epic battle of minds, and after such a clever intrigue in the beginning, and a build of setting, and then... that's how it all ends?
Honestly it was better in the beginning, and the further it goes the more unreal it gets, and the more predictable. Once you start figuring things out they lose their sense of mystery; of intrigue and despair. It's good all the way, but it goes from friggin amazing to fo shizzle during that final phase.
I love the scenery, the atmosphere, the tension, and I feel this movie could've been just perfect if something was different in the end. Even if it's sad they never get to where they were from, and stay on their floating castle - trapped amidst a hundred others - it's not sad enough. And not happy enough. It balances between worlds, and the alternate paths I would've wished it could take.
I do feel it's stood the test of time impressively well considering its age. It's the 20 year anniversary this year! Props on managing. I doubt any other movies of the decade did, if any ever attempted something as grandiose as this. Just the combination of props and other special effects is interesting to see, and study, and I think I'll probably watch this again if for naught else than just to look at those details again - maybe figuring out how it all ties together. Would love a glimpse at some behind the scenes too. Really surprised I hadn't either seen or heard of this movie before, and hey there's Kiefer Sutherland too! Someone I recognize in the cast.
Are we merely the sum of our memories? If we are given the memories of a killer: will we simply continue in that vein, or are we more than our memories? It delves into our mind too. What makes us human. The very fabric (or lack of?) our soul. Great watch.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle