Welcome to science fiction March. If you like trippy science fiction, this is the movie for you. It features William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jennifer Connelly, and even though the plot falls apart under the slightest scrutiny, It remains one of my favorite science fiction movies under the sub genre of trippy.
The reason I like this movie is because it possesses the most important elements of successful science fiction in abundance. All science fiction films asks the audience to accept a premise that is at the very least implausible. We have to accept space flight at velocities faster than the speed of light for example as happenstance, and will also need to accept an entire community of alien worlds who also hop around the galaxy with regularity and ease, all of whom somehow speak English as though the attended Mrs. Rice’s third grade class here in America. In order to be successful, no matter how silly the main premise becomes, if there is something which can ground the story in something believable, then more often than not, it will become accepted by the audience. The best way to achieve that is to have the characters carry the story. If our people for example, speak and behave as we would expect them to given what ever the situation delivered, we will have the grounding necessary to have us overlook the glaringly ridiculous. where much of science fiction loses its way is in forgetting that principle in order to focus on trying to make the science more accurate or simply more believable.
Dark City gives us a gloomy world where a group of malevolent aliens have kidnapped an entire city for the purposes of discovering what makes humans human. The people in every situation seem to act in ways that we ourselves would act, including the terror and insanity which ensues upon learning who the aliens are and what they’ve been up to.