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Parents' Guide to

Dark City

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mind-stretching, futuristic sci-fi can get gory.

Movie R 1998 103 minutes
Dark City Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Nice movie

I think it's fine for a responsible child.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

The way Dark City fuses science fiction with classic film-noir detective imagery and Kafka-esque fantasy-allegory is stylish and boldly visionary. It's definitely not your straightforward actioner of alien abduction. When outstanding computer-graphics effects show the Gotham-like city sprouting and growing out of the ground, it's not just f/x eye candy, it's key to the plot -- a concept rather similar to The Matrix ("reality" is a sham, manipulated by hostile forces) but wrapped up neatly, in one movie, not three, and without distracting kung-fu battles as a metaphor for the human spirit.

In fact, underneath its moody, cosmic-gothic ambiance, Dark City is unusually optimistic in suggesting that Earth people have something inherently precious, an inner grace that would baffle and defeat even creatures as super-powered as the strangers. One more unusual and praiseworthy touch: the script avoids swear words altogether. With a premise as far-out as this one, profanity would hardly have brought in "realism."

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