30 films to watch before you die, #20
This film, made by the Australian director Alex Proyas, was a financial flop when it was released in 1998. It was filmed with a budget of $40 million, but only earned $27 million at the box office. However, it was later recognised as a cult classic, and after being released on DVD enough copies were sold to make it profitable. More than $13 million of DVD sales? That's healthy.
Visually, the film could be mistaken for film noir. It's literally a dark city, a city in which the sun never shines. There's a murder mystery, but as the film progresses it becomes less and less relevant. It's more important to find out the secret hidden in the city. The first person to discover the secret is Detective Walenski, but what he uncovers drives him mad.
The similarity between this film and "The Matrix" is unmistakable. Roger Ebert went as far as to say that "The Matrix" recycled the premise of "Dark City". Obviously the Wachowski Brothers were strongly influenced by "Dark City", but as is often said, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Alex Proyas hasn't made many films in his career, but you might want to check out