This Forgotten Movie Walked So The Matrix Could Run
Just one year before the Wachowskis' smash hit, another movie told a surprisingly similar story.
The Matrix caused a sensation when it was released in 1999, achieving instant cult status and inspiring numerous homages, parodies and even philosophical discussions over the years.
But many people tend to forget that just one year before the Wachowskis' triumph, another film raised similar questions, had a similar setting, and a similar plot.
Dark City, a neo-noir sci-fi film directed by Alex Proyas, was released on February 27, 1998. Unfortunately, it initially received mixed reviews from critics and didn't do well at the box office, so it went unnoticed by the general public.
However, it managed to build up a rather small but loyal fanbase and eventually achieved cult classic status.
The story revolved around John Murdoch, portrayed by Rufus Sewell, who found himself caught up in a web of conspiracies that turned his entire perception of the world upside down and made him question the very nature of the mundane reality he lived in.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
The film had a great cast, including the aforementioned Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly and Richard O'Brien, who brought the film's terrifying antagonist – Mr. Hand – to life.
One of the "creepiest creeps to creep," he could easily give Hugo Weaving's Agent Smith a run for his money.
Interestingly, The Matrix even used some of the sets from Dark City, as both were filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney.
It is heartwarming to see that the film still has its fans decades later, as a recent Reddit discussion suggests. They share their stories of encountering the movie for the first time, as well as their impressions after seeing it.
"I saw Dark City in the theater. When I saw The Matrix when it was released, I remember my big takeaway was that it felt like a Dark City ripoff," Reddit user explodeder said.
Others regret that Dark City never got the full appreciation it deserved, although they admit that despite being a brilliant piece of work, it was probably a bit too difficult for the average moviegoer to understand at the time.
But at least the word got out, and it still gets some attention years later.