Box art for Dark City

Dark City

sci-fi & fantasy, thrillers


A man suffering memory loss attempts to clear himself of a string of grisly murders

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    74%
  • Audience Score
    85%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Language
0 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5

Mind-stretching, futuristic sci-fi can get gory.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is brief female nudity in a subplot about a helpful prostitute/single mother, though no sex results. She gets murdered for her troubles in helping out the hero, and there are several bloodied corpses plus fantasy violence in which zombie-like beings are decapitated or smashed. The nightmare imagery, recalling ghosts, vampires, and zombies (but with a sci-fi explanation) can be unnerving to sensitive viewers. A "director's cut" DVD lacks the opening narration that explains much of the complicated setup; some viewers might find this non-narrated version confusing.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the motivations and actions of "the strangers." The movie never tells us how the Dark City came to be created or humans arrived there. Ask kids if they don't mind that such details are left to the imagination. Do they like this cerebral head trip as much as the more action-focused The Matrix or not, and why?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    74%
    reviews counted: 26
    see all Dark City reviews
  • Audience

    85%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Proyas floods the screen with cinematic and literary references ranging from Murnau and Lang to Kafka and Orwell, creating a unique yet utterly convincing world.

- Andrea C. Basora, Newsweek, Monday, April 28, 2008

Fresh: Was "The Matrix" before "The Matrix" was ever in the pop culture lexicon...

- Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed, Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fresh: Dark City has as stunning a visual texture as that of any movie that I've seen.

- James Berardinelli, ReelViews, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews

3 stars

A bit hack thematically, very digital, absolutely breakneck pacing visually and plotwise, dreamy illogical... kinda cool hyper-pastiche. Dick Tracy meets Kafka in the Matrix

- brooklynspo, Monday, July 9, 2007

3 stars

A strange, weird Sci-Fi/horror. Not helped by a confusing plot that takes a while to unravel. Featuring a well known cast including the brilliant Ian Richardson who should be in more films and an early small role for Melissa George. It's ambitious and with the right budget could have been amazing. I kinda felt it was trying too hard to be a film ahead of its time. It's not until about half way through things start to make sense, until then the highlight was Melissa George stripping off. Could have been a classic but falls a bit short for me.

- Deano78, Saturday, October 2, 2010

3 stars

Fantastic visual piece, but a bit weak in the story. Strange aliens with fantastic mental powers are dying of something (this something is never explained as far as i remember) and want to study the human soul. For all the potential interesting questions the film raises about the human mind, and human emotions it tosses them to end up the movie in a big nerd battle of mental powers. Weak lead actor, the aliens could had been better written, and Jennifer Connelly's character is just the token love interest. It's an engaging movie no doubt, but it cripples itself from being something better.

- DragonEyeMorrison, Saturday, April 3, 2010