Unlike so many other movies that come out in newer editions just for the sake of doing so, “Dark City” is one that deserves it. Altered and trimmed by New Line Cinema for its disastrous theatrical release, writer/director Alex Proyas’ film was nonetheless designated the best film of 1998 by none other than Roger Ebert. Now that Proyas’ original intentions are revealed in a new cut, Ebert’s enthusiasm holds more merit.
A modern-day “Metropolis,” the visually striking film takes place in the near future, in a dreary urban area where the residents unknowingly fall unconscious at the stroke of midnight, when the bald, coated, psychokinetic, creepily teeth-chattering Strangers come out and literally rearrange the town to their evil liking. Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) find this out the hard way, awaking with no memory, a wife he doesn’t recognize (Jennifer Connelly) and authorities on his trail for a murder he doesn’t think he committed. Kiefer Sutherland lends support as a stuttering scientist.
“Dark City” is one of those head-screwing films you may have to watch twice to comprehend all its machinations. But odds are, you’ll want to just for the sheer spectacle of it all. As Ebert points out in a commentary and documentary, Proyas’ shots are simply dazzling in their depth and construction.
This disc contains approximately 15 extra minutes, which helps flesh out a story that once seem truncated. Storytelling still is not the film’s strong point, but the way in which it tells it is absolutely worth absorbing.