“Dark City,” directed by Alex Proyas, is about an amnesiac man named John Murdoch. It was co-written by Lem Dobbs, David and Alex Goyer, and Dobbs. He is unable to recall his past, including his marriage to his wife. A man named Murdoch sets out to clear his name after being falsely accused of murder. He does so in order to avoid being convicted by the authorities and a mysterious group known as the “Strangers.”
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It stars Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, and William Hurt as well as being a science fiction neo-noir film. Dov Hoenig edited the film, which was shot by Polish cinematographer Dariusz Wolski. Trevor Jones composed the score.
With positive reviews and a couple of awards from ceremonies and festivals like the National Board of Review, Saturn Awards, and Brussels International Fantasy Film Festival to name a few, the film was well received.
I compared films with similar narrative structures and visual styles for this article. The majority of the films on this list are classified as science fiction but contain elements of noir, suspense, and mystery. So without further ado, here is our pick of the top Dark City-inspired films to watch this weekend. Several of these films, such as ‘Dark City,’ are available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
1. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Following Bob Arctor, an undercover cop who gets caught up in the dangerous new drug trade and becomes addicted to it, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ is an animated science fiction thriller adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1977 novel of the same name. Richard Linklater wrote and directed the film, which is set in a futuristic time when drugs and crime have torn the society apart.
In this film, the actors – Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder – are animated within the visuals thanks to the interpolated rotoscope technique. At the Cannes Film Festival, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ had its world premiere and was well received. The artwork adds to the eerie atmosphere by enhancing the noir-like feel. However, the film was a financial flop, grossing only $7.7 million against an estimated audience of $8.7 million. Despite this, it’s a lot of fun to watch.
2. Gattaca (1997)
‘Gattaca,’ written and directed by Andrew Niccol, takes place in the near future, when embryonic children are conceived with the best genetic traits of their parents, thanks to genetic manipulation. Then there’s Vincent Anton Freeman, a genetic outcast who takes on the identity of a genetic outcast in order to fulfill his lifelong ambition of traveling to the stars in space.
The plot of ‘Gattaca’ is based on the biopunk theory and concept of a possible future society. Ethan Hawke plays Vincent Anton Freeman, Uma Thurman plays Irene Cassini, and Jude Law plays Jerome Eugene Morrow in this science fiction crime film. The story is further bolstered by the cast’s excellent work.
Reviewers generally liked “Gattaca,” calling it one of the decade’s best and most innovative science fiction films. In spite of the film’s commercial failure (it made only $12.5 million against a $36 million budget), it has grown in popularity among fans, earning the title of “cult classic.”
3. Source Code (2011)
Ben Ripley wrote the screenplay for ‘Source Code,’ which is directed by Duncan Jones and stars Colter Stevens as a soldier who wakes up in another person’s body. It takes him some time to realize he is part of an experimental government program to track down the bomber who detonated his device on a commuter train. His time is limited, as he only has 8 minutes to complete the task.
In order to keep the audience interested, the film weaves a web of conspiracies and schemes. When it comes to portraying the protagonist, Jake Gyllenhaal does an excellent job of balancing the conflict between confusion and restraint. “Source Code” received generally favorable reviews, with many praising the way the story combines various literary styles.
The sci-fi action thriller has a 91 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it was a box office hit as well.
4. Primer (2004)
‘Primer,’ a science fiction film directed and written by Shane Carruth, tells the story of four friends and entrepreneurs who discover time travel by accident. A battle between four friends over credit for a new invention is the focus of this film. Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize-winning film, ‘Primer,’ had its world premiere there.
Due to its low budget, unique filmmaking style, and resonant themes and ideas, it quickly rose to the top of the critical rankings. Despite the fact that some have called the film “over-experimental,” it has amassed a devoted following.
5. Under the Skin (2013)
Scarlett Johansson plays an unnamed mysterious young woman who seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland in ‘Under the Skin,’ directed by Jonathan Glazer and co-written by Walter Campbell and Glazer.
The movie follows the character’s development as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. ‘Under the Skin,’ based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Dutch writer Michel Faber, is a disturbing work. The ambiguity of the story is what sets it apart.
Horror is present, but the plot often turns into a mystery thriller, and the characters’ growth is quite complex as well. A premiere of “Under the Skin” at Telluride Film Festival drew praise for the film’s intricate structure and hypnotic visual effects. However, it was a box office flop because it did not resonate with audiences.
6. Snowpiercer (2013)
‘Snowpiercer,’ a science fiction action film, is set in the distant future, where a failed climate change experiment has killed all life except for a few people who boarded the titular Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe.
These changes create an unequal playing field for the lower classes. Curtis Everett, an outcast who is portrayed by Chris Evans, becomes the leader of the new revolution.
Bong Joon-ho directed and co-wrote the sci-fi action thriller with Kelly Masterson, which was adapted from Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette’s graphic novel ‘Le Transperceneige.’ The story weaves together themes of discrimination, class hierarchy, and climate change to tell a complete story. The film was a huge hit with critics and audiences alike.
Critics praised the film for striking a delicate balance between a fast-paced story and thought-provoking social commentary. On Rotten Tomatoes, ‘Snowpiercer’ has a critic approval rating of 95%.
7. Minority Report (2002)
‘Minority Report,’ based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, is set in 2054 in a futuristic Washington, D.C. Three “precog” psychics provide foreknowledge to PreCrime, a specialized police department, in order to catch criminals before they commit their crimes.
Tom Cruise’s John Anderton, the head of PreCrime, is scrutinized when a future crime he commits is shown on the technology. To clear his name, he’s now eluding the police while they investigate what happened.
The story, directed by Steven Spielberg, used a variety of themes and symbols to make a statement about society as a whole. Using elements from different genres, Scott Frank and Jon Cohen have come up with a gripping story that has elements of a dystopian future as well as science fiction.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie got mostly positive reviews and currently sits at 91 percent. With $358.4 million in ticket sales to match its $102 million budget, it was also an enormous hit at the box office
8. Blade Runner (1982)
‘Blade Runner’ is set in the dystopian future where synthetic humans known as “replicants” are bio-engineered by the Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies, another adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel. When Roy Batty’s replicant gang escapes to Earth, a down-and-out cop named Rick Deckard is forced to go on the hunt for them.
Filmmaker Ridley Scott helmed this one, which was co-written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples and co-directed by him.
Harrison Ford plays detective Rick Deckard in ‘Blade Runner,’ while Rutger Hauer plays replicant Roy Batty. While the film was well received by audiences, critics berated it for having a “cliched” plot. Nevertheless, among film buffs, it has developed a devoted cult following over time.