Fascinating, visionary filmmaking. With its amber-tinged palette and its distinctively dystopian view of life, it may be the most unique-looking film we've seen in ages...[but] defies logic and makes frightening and unexpected leaps.
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An almost really good movie...risks leaving the viewer feeling like one of the bewildered automatons that move through the plots.
It's all about the amazing look, cobbled together from an astonishingly evocative range of sources: "Nosferatu" and "Mad Love," "Brazil" and "Metropolis," a haunted mosaic of bits and pieces of movie memories.
[Proyas] hasn't yet learned how to enliven his characters as fully as his sets. Part of this is structural (somnolence is built into the script), but the greater fault lies with Proyas' direction of his performers, most of whom deliver their lines in a strangulated whisper.
Proyas' movie lacks a truly rich or compelling story -- although the city secret is certainly a rich and compelling idea. All too often, Dark City seems a great production design in search of a movie, an ultimate modern film noir pastiche, in which the images are so strong they overpower the drama. [27 Feb 1998]
Dark City grabs your eyeballs and squeezes.
A great visionary achievement, a film so original and exciting, it stirred my imagination like "Metropolis" and "2001: A Space Odyssey."
So relentlessly trippy in a fun-house sort of way that it could very easily inspire a daredevil cult of moviegoers who go back again and again to experience its mind-bending twists and turns. Although its story doesn't add up when you analyze it afterward, the movie does take you on a visually arresting ride that offers many unsettling surprises right up to a sentimental sunburst of an ending that has a paranoid undertone.
If you don't fall in love with it, you've probably never fallen in love with a movie, and never will.