DARK CITY is the story of a man, who is told that he is someone he cannot remember being, and that he is guilty of crimes he cannot remember committing. The central character, White, wakes up in a city of perpetual night filled with violence and contradictions. For some reason his only feelings of peace are associated with memories of the ocean. He sets out to find the ocean, convinced it will unlock clues of his true identity.
N.B.: DARK CITY by Alex Proyas. Thesis based on the 1992 draft and not the final script used for the 1998 feature.
White wakes up in a room that appears fine but if one looks closer it is actually affected by time. Maybe the wall paper is stained, the ceiling fan threatens to fall apart, the faucet is leaking…
White leaves the room wearing clothes, not knowing to whom they belong. He takes with him the fish, which seems to want to go with him.
WHITE has the feeling of being observed. In the shadows, we get a glimpse of the Strangers following him.
Every time he opens a door, it leads him to danger.
This hotel may have had its glory, but the Lobby is the facade hiding the insidious dilapidation.
The hotel manager looks like he could be running a Motel rather than this once decent hotel.
Which door to open?
In his pocket, White is holding on to the gun he found as the only thing that seems real to him. He feels the shadows following him.
Detective Bumstead is called to the morgue.
We meet Detective Bumstead in an environment he despises because of his germaphobic tendencies and his obsession with neatness. He looks sharp even though his clothes are not new, they are regularly pressed.
For the first time, White faces the Strangers.
White not quite sure how to use this gun, yet he fires and kills the Stranger in self-defense.
White is always running away from the shadows that follow him.
Fredrick came to warn White. Fredrick is hiding but will be murdered by the Strangers.
WHITE witnesses the violence the Strangers are capable of. He witnesses the murder of Fredrick.
The Strangers operate in underground quarters with feel like 1940s war rooms.
We meet Mr. Black as the leader of the Strangers.
Always looking over his Shoulder, White is seeking refuge and answers. He meets several people who end up killed…
These Mystery Men ingest insects and their whole body is covered with a long coat, sunglasses and gloves. Their bald head is covered with a white powder and their skin is crackled. They look human but their limbs are extraordinarily longer.
The strangers are busy building a robotic puppet designed to hunt and kill.
The Puppet is part robot, part insect, part alien.
With a cloak on, and retracted, the puppet looks grotesque and almost cute until it expands and is ready to kill.
The Puppet tracks and kills all who have come to be in contact with Mr. White. The cute puppet becomes a lethal and merciless weapon.
We witness the murder of the Barber.
Hoping to find a map to the ocean, White is at the library. All appears normal only to realize that once touched all books are reduced to dust.
The librarian is this old lady who never looks up and is clearly annoyed by anyone asking information from her information desk.
White enters the Church hoping to feel safer within the haven of the Church.
The Church looks vertiginous as a warning that it is not safe.
The priests are threatening as they preach.
In their red cloak, they look more like high magistrates in a witch hunt rather than priests.
The Church does not shield White from the Strangers who chase in there.
For the first time White intentionally shoots to kill the Strangers. White is determined to survive at all cost in order to find the truth: who is he really?
White is cold and seeks a refuge.
White feels lost and wakes up in the subway not knowing how he got there. A woman notices him.
White is confused by the events. He follows this woman to her apartment.
White walks being her going up the staircase leading to her apartment.
The apartment is intoxicating with bold colors and textures that are a great contrast to the outside world.
The intriguing young woman turns out to be a prostitute. She undresses to reveal a dragonfly tattoo on her back.
White is not resisting this fantasy. He is not aware of putting her in danger.
She has a strange connection with an alien like insect.
White dreams of water filling the apartment and being discovered by the Strangers.
Maybe this DR. Schreber can make sense of White’s memory loss and give him answers about the Strangers chasing him.
Dr. Schreber’s secretary is chewing gum and seems blasée by her job.
Dr. Schreber is expecting Mr. White
We finally see Mr. Black the leader of an army of mystery men: The Strangers. they all move in a could of some sort of powder that keeps them dry.
White begins to realize that he has abilities and that maybe nothing is real.
White is running away from the puppet and the Strangers.
Those who are not killed, are tortured as Dr. Schreber finds out too late.
Doors appear and always lead to danger for White.
White always seem to find himself in cross roads.
Detective Bumstead is no longer the neat image of a man with OCD but rather one who is joining forces with White because nothing seems to make sense for this detective who finds comfort in order.
Helping White costs Bumstead his life. Before dying , he tells White where to find the ocean.
Finally! White found the ocean…
The Ocean is not what he expected…
White is crushed. The Ocean is just a wall painting…Nothing in this world is real.
Mr. Black and his army control the memories and dreams in this world. It is time to fix the anomaly that is Mr. White.
White is no longer reacting to the chain of events. He uses his abilities against Mr. Black. He wants control over his journey to survive and find the truth about himself. Will he vanquish The Strangers? END OF SAMPLE | THESIS 2018 | DARK CITY| NYU TISCH