“Dark City” was released in theaters in 1998. The moody, dystopian film is about a man (Rufus Sewell) who becomes aware that aliens are studying humans in a city that re-sets itself every night at midnight. Masquerading as a murder mystery, the movie is an homage to film noirs of the past and a continued exploration of the themes and aesthetics of Proyas’ prior film, “The Crow.”
The film was received well by critics but was a box office flop, something Proyas blamed on studio interference. It would take ten years for his vision to come to fruition in an official director’s cut release. But before that happened, Roger Ebert announced the news.
Proyas explained what happened to Screen Anarchy before the 2008 director’s cut release. He said:
“Part of what happened initially was that Roger Ebert, who did a commentary for the new version, spilled the beans at a very early stage, way before we even started. I think I showed him a couple of rough cuts of it that were floating around and we had a window of opportunity with him to do a voice-over. He then of course proclaimed that this director’s cut was coming out, which was great and I’m very grateful that he has been so supportive of the film over the years, but it let the cat out of the bag and from that point forward all my life was made a living hell because people would constantly ask me what’s going on.”
Since its theatrical release, Ebert had been a champion for ‘Dark City.’ In his initial review of the film, the critic gave the film 4/4 stars and wrote, “Not a story so much as an experience, it is a triumph of art direction, set design, cinematography, special effects — and imagination.”