I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I had a huge soft spot for Dark City. To me it was one of the best science fiction films of recent years. I remember seeing it when it came out on video and thinking how original and interesting it was. Thinking about what a world it had created (no pun intended), art deco design to match the noir plot, but steam-punk ideas fuelling the science fiction. That catchphrase of the post war era, ‘push button’, applied to a pre-war aesthetic.
Of course, then The Matrix appeared and seemed to lift the central plot idea and run with it. It didn’t take the same idea further, but at least it ran with it in another direction. Still it must have been frustrating to those involved in Dark City, having made such a good film and been passed over, while a glossier rerun took their glory. The Matrix, for all it’s faults, will always have it’s place as a blockbuster success, but I believe Dark City will not be forgotten in the long run either.
Certainly, casting will help, with actors like an accordion playing William Hurt or a floating Richard O’Brien (known to all British youngsters for The Crystal Maze more than Rocky Horror), all adding to the surreal element. This is a film where Rufus Sewell grows an island out in front of him by the power of his mind. This film has Kiefer Sutherland playing a kind of Peter Lorre, for god’s sakes! I think the scene in which Kiefer appears later on, bound in an iron-ribbed, wheeled, dress frame, absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word.
So the news of a directors cut, about to be released onto DVD and BluRay, fills me with equal amounts of excitement and fear. As I’ve mentioned before, in my post about WKW’s Ashes of Time Redux, what happens when you are quite fond of the artist’s first-released comprised vision? What happens when you like Ambersons or Lady From Shanghai as they are? I can’t tell if Proyas and I like the same things, he never made another film that appealed to me. Do the extra fifteen minutes of his new Dark City turn the film in a direction I can’t defend any longer? I won’t knew until the BluRay is released, because Dark City is on my secret hi-def watch list.
Twitch has an interview with Proyas up about this project and various other things, and of course Ridley Scott is mentioned, who I’ve said before is responsible for keeping this whole idea of director’s cuts alive. At the same time, Mr. Proyas touches a little on Dracula: Year Zero, a project that sounds of little interest to anyone. Dracula before he was Dracula? How about a film that deals with Jack Lemmon’s character in Some Like It Hot before he dressed as a woman or a film about Chief Brody before Jaws arrives?
Read the interview with Proyas at Twitch right here :