The cinematic dream logic of Dark City
Now released as a director’s cut DVD,
Soon enough we see Dr. Shreber (Kiefer Sutherland playing a more youthful Dr. Caligari) standing over a maze with a mouse, and this suggests a Kafkaesque Modernist image—the labyrinth. The film viewer and the man who may be John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) must maneuver through a kind of maze as he tries to learn who he is, why he’s wanted for murder, and what do all of these bald men want him for. By the time the film plunges us into a large arena where bald pale men all dressed in leather bondage gear stand around like interns viewing a medical experiment, one would really like to know what’s going on. The film’s troubled release back in 1998 involved just that question. Should the filmmakers add a voiceover narration at the beginning to explain things, or just let the dream logic work itself out? Studio pressures obliged director Alex Proyas to reluctantly go with the narration, but as the excellent new director’s cut on DVD shows, the film intrigues far more when it doesn’t explain itself too closely.
The lost paradise image of
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