Monday, August 25, 2008

Dark City Director's Cut

1998 / Director's Cut 2008

I previously reviewed this gem, wrongly indicating that the film was released in 1999 and that it was a "germ" - but no matter, as a "Directors Cut" of this film has arrived. The film is still oft forgotten when people talk about truly “classic” modern films. Still occasionally mistaken for a Matrix rip-off, this film is, as I've said before, like the Matrix in only the most simplistic of terms. It deals with some of the same issues - but with completely different results and conclusions.

John Murdoch wakes up in a hotel bathtub, unable to remember how he got there or who he actually is. The only things in the room are a broken fishbowl (with fish flapping around on the ground) and a swinging hanging light. He soon realizes he isn’t alone, and that people are after him. As he makes his escape away, he soon realizes that nothing is right in the world he once knew. Is he crazy or is the world really as nuts as he’s seeing it as? Jennifer Connelly plays his wife, Emma; Kiefer Sutherland is his purported “doctor”, Dr. Daniel Schreber; and William Hurt is Inspector Bumstead, who is assigned to the case when the previous inspector seemingly becomes delusional. With the help of the three they discover that something is not right with the city they thought they knew.

The new cut of this film does not have the much derided introductory voice over. Also removed is a sequence that is introduced later in the film - with greater impact to the narrative.

Jennifer Connelly actually lends her voice to the vocals sung in the club during the film. In the original film they were provided by Anita Kelsey.

The film also strengthens the supporting cast, Inspector Bumstead and Dr. Schreber. Bumstead has added screen time that provides more screen-time to his investigation, and lends credence that more than just a few people have a sneaking suspicion as to what is going on in their city.

It's hard to improve on perfection - but they've done it.

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