Dark City

Carrying on with the look of The Crow, Proyas gives Dark City an appropriately noirish atmosphere. Many have asked whether The Matrix ‘borrowed’ heavily from Dark City. The similarities are blatant, the opening few scenes are almost identical to the Wachowskis’ movie, and some of the early dialogue is the same. The look is similar, as is the story to some extent: your life is being controlled by an outside, unseen force, and the human race is their little play thing. Then again, Proyas’ story has elements from Metropolis, and Blade Runner. Both films are must-sees from the nineties, but unfortunately Dark City is barely known.

Sewell’s character Murdoch wakes up with no idea who he is, or who the dead woman beside him is. When he is chased by a group of leather clad baldies, he begins to wonder what the hell is going on. He questions why no-one can remember the last time there was daylight, or remember the way out of the city. Help comes in the form of odd doctor Sutherland, who seems to be the only other person in the city who doesn’t mysteriously fall asleep at midnight. Sutherland teaches Murdoch how to harness his powerful gift (an ability to ‘change’ his surroundings), and then try to bring down the bad guys.

Questions of free will are explored, and like The Matrix we wonder whether it would be better not to know. At the end, there is still no escape from the city, although Murdoch’s power to create remains. Most of the performances are good, though unlike The Crow, Dark City has a bleak, close to emotionless feel to it, and only Jennifer Connoly adds some glamour. The film is visually stunning and the plot is engaging, though it was always clear that this would never be the blockbuster which The Matrix set out to be.

Go for the special edition DVD for soome decent making of doceumentaries and snacks, and

Dark City

catch up on one of the decade’s forgotten gems.

As always, please leave any comments on the movie or the review. Have you seen it, and do you feel it should be more widely known?

The Crow

Pulp Fiction? Forrest Gump? Nah, this is what should have won the Best Film Oscar in 94. The best comic book film ever made, surpassing even Batman and Superman, The Crow is one film that will remain eternal, and never age over the years. Its story may be simple, but it is executed with such style and heart that it will never become unfashionable, and although the sequels have so far been poor, this is unmissable. Action, humour, love, and a visual flare that only Burton can match, The Crow as Brandon Lee’s last film has a massive cult following and was hailed by many critics.

Eric Draven, a rock musician and his girlfriend Shelley are brutally killed on Halloween by the members of a local gang. The case is never solved, but cop Albrecht stayed with Shelley in the hospital for the many hours before she died. He has gone on with his job in the stinking city, occasionally meeting with Sarah, a young girl who was friends with Eric and Shelley, whose mother is a waster and addict. One year later, Draven returns from the grave, terrified and tortured until he remembers what has happened. A Crow seems to look after him and he is invincible. He soon sets out for revenge, picking off the gang members one by one, on his way to Top Dollar, the leader. Although he tries to hide in the shadows, he eventually shows himself to Sarah and Albrecht, and they work together.

Rarely is such a beautiful film been made. Only Edward Scissorhands can equal this in modern times, but even it has a different style. The sweeping views of the city, a terrible place to be, are stunning, with camera angles the Matrix would emulate. The soundtrack adds immensely, both the rock songs and the instrumental tracks, making the film all the more powerful. The acting is all immense, though understated and quiet for the most part. Lee gives his best performance and it is a remarkable one, going through the emotions of the character, as well as doing the stunts. Of course, this would cost him his life, tragically echoing the story. In fact, the story seems to have been cursed from the start, with creator O’Barr basing the story and character on the real events of his life-his girlfriend being killed and the emotions he went through. Davis as Sarah gives a strong performance too, and could have had the world at her feet, but vowed never to return to the set and has not acted since Lee’s death. Hudson gives a career best, and Wincott gives his usual snarling effort, here it is superb and has not been bettered. All the other cast members are great too, the gang members each well drawn and acted to perfection.

The story is told with such skill that you can’t help to feel such sympathy for the characters, and Sarah’s monologues are very emphatic. Draven is a strong character, getting a second chance to do things right, and saying that yes- scumbags who kill do deserve to die also. These bad guys have no redeeming qualities, and their deaths are satisfying. The script is also awesome, and there are many one-liners ranging from funny, poignant, and insightful. If their were only a handful of films from this decade which survived a war, or which could be used to show humanity- this would be one of them. Easily one of the best movies of the decade which should continue to be seen by all.

This 2 disc special edition has some good features, including the already famous final interview of Brandon Lee and a touching and interesting interview with creator James O’Barr. The deleted and extended scenes are good, and the commentary is insightful.

The Crow

As always, leave any comments on the movie or the review. Do you think Lee would have been a huge star after this? Where does this rank in your favourite comic book movies?