A pre-Jack Bauer Kiefer Sutherland gets slimy in noir classic Dark City.
Dark City: Director's Cut (Alliance, 1998) D: Alex Proyas, w/ Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: NNNNN
For its original theatrical release, Dark City was dumbed down by an opening voice-over that told us who was doing what to whom and why. So much for mystery. That's gone now, and the movie's smartened right back up. Amazing what a difference one little change makes. (Other small changes add a little more three-dimensionality to the characters and their world.)
Now we don't know any more than John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) does when he wakes up in the bath with a corpse in the next room.
Before long, he's tagged as a serial killer and on the run through a paranoia-drenched film noir city like nothing you've ever seen, with Detective Bumstead (William Hurt), the mysterious Dr. Schreber (a wonderfully slimy Kiefer Sutherland) and some pasty-faced strangers in hot pursuit. But there are bigger mysteries afoot that may involve the nature of reality itself. The payoff, when it comes, is astounding.
Like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, Dark City is a science fiction work of complex ideas and characters that resonate long after the film ends.
The Architecture Of Dreams supplement gives a good going-over to five separate approaches to the film, from scripter Lem Dobbs's postmodern take to Roger Ebert's highly original ideas about the film's architecture.
Ebert also supplies one of the best commentaries I've ever heard. He loves the film and takes us through it in a way that casually lays bare the workings of his approach to criticism.
EXTRAS Director commentary, writers commentary, Roger Ebert critical commentary, director intro, making-of doc, five-part appreciation doc. Widescreen. English, Spanish subtitles.