Alex Proyas’ “Dark City” draws from the best part of the “Blade Runner” aesthetic and adds smoky rooms and hardboiled mystery. Like its predecessor, it feels like it’s always night. In this unnamed city, it is, and the trains never run to the sunny beach its residents crave. Trying to live here is an actual nightmare. You’re always vaguely unsure about your reality, and nothing about your life is going to feel stable for long.
In “Dark City,” life is a literal rat race. We’re lab animals, used by alien Strangers to unlock the riddle of their long-term survival. There’s only one glimmer of hope, and that’s the abrupt change of power as one man, John (Rufus Sewell), achieves what our captors desire and turns their powers onto themselves. Yet, we’re still stranded in this frozen place, and although the return of daylight is welcome, there are no guarantees that our new boss won’t gradually become the same as our old, eldritch bosses. And we’re never going home to Earth.