Dark City is a science fiction thriller that went under-appreciated at the box office but went on to earn a cult following. The plot is convoluted and completely over the top, involving aliens and mind control, but the real centerpiece of the movie is the setting.
In the dark city it is always night and every 12 hours, on the stroke of midnight, the city changes shape. Despite signs advertising sunny Shell Beach there is no way out of the city, a fact that goes unnoticed by the population. On a physical level this is accomplished by running trains and roads in a circle. On a psychological level this is accomplish via brainwashing and misdirection. In one scene the main character asks a stranger he meets in the subway why the subway train doesn’t go to Shell Beach. The stranger tells him that the map he is looking at is for the local train, to get to Shell Beach he has to take the express. Moments later the express train whizzes past. “It didn’t stop,” he says to the stranger. “Of course not,” the stranger replies, “its the express.”
[Content Warning: Dark City contains a few grizzly murder scenes and a nude scene.]