Blade Runner, but I have another film in mind. A year before The Matrix introduced stylish trench coats and dark alleys to the genre, it had already been superbly done in Dark City. This is an extremely unique film with very neat sets and cool visuals. The story line is pure science fiction, which means that the World War II era film noir elements are done mostly for effect and as a kind of tribute, but the reason they are there is the same, even if on a much deeper level. Ok, if I sound like I'm speaking in riddles it is to reflect the mysterious nature of the film and before I get to the plot synopsis I should warn that it is better not knowing anything before you watch it for the first time. So please note the spoiler alert.
Our main character, John Murdoch, is eventually found to somehow possess the same tuning abilities as the aliens and so they want to either destroy him or study him and sometimes can't decide which. He's also wanted for a string of murders that he did not commit. It was just another programming experiment that he happened to wake up from too early. William Hurt very nicely plays the film noir staple detective trying to solve the murder case and so he too is after Murdoch. Murdoch slowly learns of his situation from a very strange doctor named Shreber, played by Keifer Sutherland, who works for the aliens to create the memories that are implanted into their human subjects. His wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) is willing to believe his story, even though she is only his wife as of that evening due to the last memory transfer, and the detective eventually gives him the chance to prove his claims by going in search of Shell Beach. That is the place where his memory tells him he grew up and Murdoch spends most of the film trying to find it. It is so amazingly dream-like how every time he asks someone about it, they say they know of it, or have been there, but when asked how to get there, they are surprised when they find they have forgotten the specific directions. Eventually they come to where Shell Beach should be, and find just a poster on a brick wall at the edge of the city. Behind that wall, they discover, is empty space.
There are lots of technical details you could pick at. Why are all the alien's bodies male? How do they stop traffic and move buildings around without killing the unconscious subjects? Why does Keifer Sutherland sound like he's out of breath every time he talks? But I think you will find yourself not worrying about all that since it is not the real point of the film. Some point out similarities with The Matrix, but they are mainly surface level, and since Dark City came first, the point is a bit moot. You can watch it and judge for yourself
here (if the link is still good).
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