**½/**** Image A Sound A Extras B-
starring Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard
screenplay by Gerald DiPego
directed by Joseph Ruben
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. I couldn't really understand at the time why Dark City didn't arouse imaginations. I resented the following year's The Matrix for stealing some of Dark City's thunder; I blamed a lack of vision and a general disdain for genre. Now I wonder if it wasn't a matter of the film coming out a few years ahead of its time. Maybe it was just too light for the Age of Irony. Maybe it was too apocalyptic a vision for a people who had yet to experience an apocalypse in their own backyard. But there are certain prescient pictures that point north, films like The Truman Show that I underestimated like I thought everyone else underestimated Dark City, or films that remain underestimated, such as Strange Days and Twelve Monkeys, Terry Gilliam's most uncompromising film since Brazil. It's the duty of some movies to draw the outlines in chalk, set the groundwork, dig the foundation for the way that speculative fiction will seek to define this culture in the aftermath of an inflamed fault line even before the dime drops. Just before Y2K, we dug ourselves into cinematic bunkers in preparation for some kind of technological apocalypse. Who would have suspected that the shape of our crucible would be not faulty microchips and mainframes, but assault rifles, airplanes, leadership without vision, and children without protection from leadership without vision?