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David BruceThere is something mesmerizing about this important film. It flows in the same vein as The Truman Show, The Game, and Pleasantville. Something isn't real with the world around John Murdoch.
-Review by David Bruce
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This film is like Metropolis,
the 5th Element,
and 2001: A Space Odyssey
rolled up into one movie.

John Murdoch: Rufus Sewell, Inspector Bumstead: William Hurt, Dr. Daniel Schreber: Kiefer Sutherland, Emma Murdoch: Jennifer Connelly, Mr. Hand: Richard O'Brien.

Directed by Alex Proyas.
Written by Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer.
Running time: 103 minutes.
Rated R (for violent images and some sexuality).

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There is something mesmerizing about this important film. It flows in the same vein as The Truman Show, The Game, and Pleasantville. Something isn't real with the world around John Murdoch. Some group is trying to control things and it isn't God. John awakes from a sleep in a bathtub. There is a swinging light, blood on the floor and a murdered woman. He has no solid memory of his past. Just certain flashes. He soon learns that an Inspector Bumstead (William Hurt) is on his tail. He escapes into the dark main streets where he is confronted with 1940 dinners, 50s cars, 30s dress, and modern office buildings. It is a city constructed out of memories. Beyond the city is nothing but an eternity of space.
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John eventually encounters the alien force, called Strangers, who are responsible for this crazy mixed up world.  Murdoch also discovers that he alone, among humans, has the power of the Strangers. He can use his mind in order to shape the physical universe. He has two natures. Part human, part Stranger, much like Jesus (both human and divine). The Strangers are in search of the human soul. It seems they have no soul! They want to be more like humans. They have devised this whole space city and abducted humans to live here. Each night they remove and replace memories in their human subjects. The city is thus constructed from these human memories.
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Ultimately they settle on one human as being their messiah, John Murdoch. He is captured and placed on a time cross. At first the court od Strangers yell, "Kill him" (as with with Jesus when the crowd yelled, "Crucify him"). The alien leader prevails upon them to use John as the one they need to realize their goal.
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Dr. Daniel Schreber (a friend of John) injects memory, not death, into John's brain through a crown-of-thrones type headband while John is secured in a crucified position. John resurrects with all he needs to overcome the Strangers.
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He battles the evil one with his mental (spiritual) powers and wins.
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Victory brings the end of the old city and the creation of the new world/city. All things become new.


Subject: Ripping Off Lost Children?
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001
From: ML

This is a great site you have; I always stop by to read your commentary on the latest movies. Anyway, about DARK CITY: I don't know where the earlier poster heard that DC is widely believed to be a rip-off of CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, but that was certainly the first time I'd heard it, and I've read about a billion reviews/internet posts on DARK CITY. COLC is often cited as an *influence*, along with a pile of other films, but the two movies aren't similar enough to justify the term "rip-off". I don't think so, having seen them both, and to name just one other example, neither did Roger Ebert, who gave COLC a moderately positive review in 1995 and then went bonkers over DC in 1998, calling it the best picture of the year. I might not go that far, but I object to its being called a rip-off.

Subject: Dark City
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001
From: korpuskrispi

Your site is great. It seems like most websites that review movies either give them boring, lame reviews, or don't review very many movies ( And then there's crap like the CAP movie reviews. While I am not a religious person, myself, I am always happy to expose myself to other viewpoints. Anyway, the purpose of this e-mail is to suggest a movie which i didn't notice on your site. The City Of Lost Children. It's a French movie from 1995 starring Ron Pearlman (of TV's Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton) and a bunch of French people. The sets and costumes are outstandin. The movie, Dark City, is actually widely believed to be a rip off of City Of Lost Children, dumbed down for American audiences. I hope to see a review of it on your site soon. (It's available on tape or DVD.)
Have a good one.
--- korpuskrispi

Response: Thank you fro the kind words. I will have to check out the movie. -David

Date: Wed, 13 Sep
From: "Robert Tynan"

Jesus Christ is Lord of All! At the real end of this world, all who have been involved in this film will be held accountable to Him. Instead of mocking Him, you will fall on your face before Him in fear. He is worthy of your worship, not your blasphemy. The real good news: Being part of a "religious" family will not save you. Going to church will not. Being a good, moral person will not. Doing good things will not. Knowing the Bible will not save you. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can save you. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father, except through Me" (John 14:6).

Response: So, I take it that you did not like this movie. And it seems you feel that those involved with this film are in danger of God's judgement! Interesting. -David

Date: Mon, 22 May 2000
From: "Bill Hutto"

I think you ought to leave Jesus out of all this stuff. It insults my religion. Jesus is above and beyond any concept that you or anyone else can imagine. very
sincerely, Bill Hutto

Response: Sorry to insult your religion. Just what intolerant religion is it? -David

Jan 25 1999,

This movie was enjoyable, however I think the allusions that they used could have been more subtle. It was almost like watching a film student's assingment on the use of symbolism. The lead was almost distracting in his portrayal and didn't convince me through the course of the movie that he had any spark of what was revealed in the end. The imagery was great and I loved the noir feel. Hurt brought a lot to the movie as he struggled with his own memory lapses. It did leave me thinking about what constitutes a soul etc. Although it had some short comings it didn't ask you to check your brain at the door and it left you pondering --Reid

Jan 18, 1999.

Another great movie, and the issues involved in the movie are definitely based on "Myth". The spirituality of this film is very black and white. You never question the fact that these "strangers" are inherently evil, and that John Murdock is the savior of all. This is one of my favorite movies, but the spiritual content of this movie does not move past myth into any sense of human reality, like many of today's "Spiritual movies."

© 1998 New Line Cinema, Inc.