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Film / Dark City (1998)
aka: Dark City

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"A world where the night never ends. Where man has no past. And humanity has no future."

Dark City is a 1998 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Alex Proyas, starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, and Richard O'Brien.

A man (Sewell) wakes up in a bathtub with no memories—he doesn't even recall that his name is John Murdoch until he checks his wallet. He finds a dead woman in the bedroom; so when the phone rings and the voice on the other end tells him to get out before "they" come for him, John does so. Despite the damning evidence, John is convinced that he's not a killer, and he sets out to prove this while evading the police... and the pale men in dark coats who have taken an interest in him.

Meanwhile, Emma Murdoch (Connelly) is contacted by Dr. Daniel Schreber (Sutherland); he claims to be her husband's doctor and says that he desperately needs to speak with John. But it becomes increasingly unclear whether or not Dr. Schreber is on John's side.

Meanwhile, Inspector Frank Bumstead (Hurt) is investigating a serial killer targeting streetwalkers—the dead woman in John Murdoch's room was the latest victim. The evidence does seem to paint John as the serial killer, but some pieces just don't fit. Bumstead is beginning to understand why the last detective on this case went insane.

It's going to be a very long night for everyone.

Also worth noting: The opening monologue from the original cut spoils the movie to hell. (It was a last-minute addition at the behest of New Line Cinema.) It's recommended that you either watch the Director's Cut (which omits the narration) or mute the opening if you're watching the theatrical version. (Unmute at the closeup of the pocketwatch.) If you want spoilers, check out our synopsis page.

Not to be confused with the 1950 Film Noir of the same title starring Charlton Heston in his first starring role.

We need to list the tropes, Mr. TV Tropes, yes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Narrowly averted. When Emma reaches Dr. Schreber's office, she stops herself before uttering his name in a wrong way, unsure how to pronounce it, as she was only given a card prior.
    Emma: Dr. Sh... [She stutters, not really knowing how to continue]
    Schreber: Schreber. Please, won't you come in?
  • Action Survivor: Before he learns how to master his Tuning, John Murdoch's just a terrified guy trying to survive as best as he can, but he actually manages to kill a few Strangers through quick thinking and luck, and knocks down Mr. Hand with one punch during their rooftop confrontation.
  • Affably Evil: While most of the Strangers fall into Faux Affably Evil, Mr. Hand seems far more genuine in his politeness. It becomes far more pronounced after he gives himself the memories meant for Murdoch.
  • Always Night: The city exists in a state of the perpetual night till the end of the movie, when John creates the sun.
  • Amnesiac Lover: John to Emma in the beginning, then Anna (formerly Emma) to John at the end.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The machine below the city allows tuners to create changes on a massive scale.
  • Arc Symbol: Circular mazes. Dr. Schreber has one in his office for testing rats, Walenski was driven mad into drawing them all around his apartment, and the city itself is maze-like and constantly changing. Not to mention the spaceship itself houses the city in a circular shape.
    • The serial killer also carved symbols resembling them into his victims' chests.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Remember."
    • "Do you know the way to Shell Beach?"
    • "You ever think about the past?"
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Do you know the way to Shell Beach?" It's part of everyone's memory, but nobody remembers the trip due to the limits of the Strangers' constructions. The question tricks people into noticing the missing link.
    • "When was the last time you did anything during the day?"
  • Ax-Crazy: Mr. Hand, after being imprinted with the memories meant for John, mainly since these memories were designed to make him into a Serial Killer.
  • Backstory Invader: Schreber becomes a rare heroic example of this, injecting John with a syringe that contains all the memories he should have had, plus memories of Schreber showing up in his past to educate him about the Strangers and his powers.
  • Badass Longcoat: John, Inspector Bumstead, and The Strangers.
  • Bald of Evil: All of the Strangers.
  • Beam-O-War: Twice during John's final battle with Mr. Book, the second time involving a thrown knife as well.
  • Becoming the Mask: When Mr. Hand imprints himself with the memories meant for John, he starts to act and behave more like a human. Unfortunately, since the memories were designed to make John into a Serial Killer, Mr. Hand starts to become one too.
  • Big Damn Kiss: While talking about their "relationship" in the jail visiting room, John realizes he's fallen in love with Emma for real. He telekinetically shatters the glass between them and kisses her passionately.
  • Bio Punk: While it leans more toward Diesel Punk, the film incorporates several biopunk touches as well, and has had a big impact on much later biopunk works with a Retro Futuristic vibe. The development team for Bioshock, for instance, cited this film as a major influence on their designs not just in the plasmid technology but also for the city of Rapture as a whole.
  • Blank Book: Stranger-made artifacts of John's "childhood".
  • Blinded by the Light: Mr. Hand when the sun comes up.
  • The Brute: Mr. Wall.
  • Casting Gag:
    • The creators said the Strangers were inspired by Riff-Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. So Mr Hand is played by Richard O'Brien.
    • Jennifer Connelly had previously starred in Mulholland Falls and Inventing The Abbotts - and this was the third film in a row that had her playing someone in the 40s/50s setting.
  • The Chanteuse: Emma Murdoch's occupation. Or at least the one the Strangers have chosen for her.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dr. Schreber's special memory vial, which John pockets just before being captured.
  • Chiaroscuro: As part of the homage to German Expressionism.
  • City in a Bottle: Everybody seems to remember life outside the city, but nobody remembers how to get to any of those places.
  • City Noir: Given this film is a homage to classic Film Noir and German Expressionism, it's to be expected. But there's the added twist that this city always changes. Literally. Buildings are never in the same place twice, bridges or roadways constantly shift, apartments can become hotels, housing developments can transform into five-star restaurants, etc. This only heightens the uncertainty, surrealism, and paranoia in the atmosphere. It's a prison with ever-changing cells. This takes the Film Noir metaphor of the city as a repressive labyrinth of the soul to the logical extreme.
  • City with No Name: Mainly because it's a pastiche built from the mixed-and-matched memories of people abducted from numerous time periods throughout the Twentieth Century.
  • *Click* Hello: Utilized when Murdoch and Bumstead confront Schreber.
  • Clock of Power: The Strangers physically alter the city with the aid of a gigantic clock that they control via mass "tuning" (their word for their telekinetic/psychic power). The clock amplifies their tuning, allowing them to send everyone in the city to sleep at once, and can deconstruct/reconstruct entire skyscrapers in seconds.
  • Closed Circle: The titular story itself.
  • Creepy Child: Mr. Sleep. (Who was played by a pair of very young fraternal twins.)
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • One of the Strangers gets scalped when the giant metal hand of a woman on a billboard swings down and slices the back of his head off. Another Stranger falls through a wooden bridge and gets his neck tangled in ropes connected to gears, and when the gears start turning he's painfully strangled to death.
    • Another one gets smashed like a bug when he gets trapped between two moving buildings as the city is changing. Squelch!
    • Getting thrown out into space cannot have been pleasant for either Mr. Wall or Bumstead.
    • Mr. Book gets stabbed in the throat with a knife and then slammed into a watertower with great force.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Every single word that Detective Eddie Walenski says to anyone turns out to be perfectly true, despite the fact that his partner, Inspector Bumstead, is absolutely right when he describes Walenski as being around the bend.
  • Cue the Sun: How the film ends. John, after having taken control of the massive space station, rotates it so that the sun is shining across its surface for the first time.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Once Dr. Schreber gives him a whole lifetime of training via Exposition Beam, John trashes the Strangers in about five minutes of screen time.
  • Curse Cut Short: Dr. Schreber, cut off mid-rant by Mr. Book.
    Schreber: Maybe you've finally found what you're looking for, and it's going to bite you on your — Aaah!!
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: It's always dark in the city. Justified by the eponymous city being controlled by aliens who can't stand strong light.
  • Dark World: The title should say it all.
  • Days of Future Past: According to the director, although his co-screenwriters have a different interpretation.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bumstead.
  • Death Is the Only Option: Walenski has a pretty good grasp of what's happening in the city, and figures out that the only escape is by committing suicide.
  • Diesel Punk: One of the more important Trope Codifiers, cementing the aesthetic's connections to Film Noir and a vaguely Spiritualist/Lovecraftian breed of Applied Phlebotinum bordering on Magitek.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Enforced by the Strangers, who give prostitute identities to certain women, then kill them, and then share John's memories of killing them—all to see if he will kill another woman chosen to be a prostitute. John refuses to follow through, but once Mr. Hand gets John’s manufactured memories he finds and kills her.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Mr. Hand has himself injected with the memories meant for John, claiming it will make him able to track John better. However, he eventually admits that his goal was to experience individuality and what it's like to be human.
  • Driven to Suicide: Detective Walenski, who throws himself in front of a subway train when he sees it as the only way out of the City.
  • Dying Race: The Strangers, although exactly why they are on their way out remains ambiguous.
  • Eldritch Location: The Strangers can adjust the architecture of the city at will.
  • "End of the World" Special: The last 10 minutes, in which John frees the world from the shackles of The Strangers and recreates it to be a better place for all those who inhabit it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: John saving the goldfish at the beginning demonstrates his good nature. Bumstead even takes note of it during his investigation.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Emma's first dress we see her performing in is a sparkly green number.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mr. Wall is the only one to object to imprinting Mr. Hand with the memories meant for John. While the rest of the Strangers are reluctant to do so, they ultimately do so anyway out of desperation. Considering what it turns Mr. Hand into, Mr. Wall's fears were definitely justified.
  • Evil Brit: The Strangers all speak with English RP accents. Non-American actors Rufus Sewell (British) and Melissa George (Australian) use American accents as their more sympathetic characters.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Mr. Hand's final conversation with John, who tells him the Strangers were looking for humanity "in the wrong place."
  • Exposition Beam: An Exposition Syringe. Doctor Schreber wants to give John a fighting chance against the reality warping Strangers, so he fills the last Syringe with both exposition and a lifetime of experience in using his matter manipulating powers. Carnage ensued.
  • Faceplanting into Food: When the clock strikes midnight and the entire city falls asleep at once, one couple drops into the bowls of soup they were eating.
  • Fan Disservice: We get a few shots of topless prostitutes, but since said prostitutes are dead and covered in spiral carvings at the time, it's hardly erotic.
  • Fanservice: One of the first things we see is John's naked bottom, and not long after that, we see May topless. People keep their clothes on afterwards.
  • Fake Memories: Regularly and on a city-wide scale.
  • Five Man Band: The most prominent Strangers:
  • Film Noir: The whole movie is an homage to this combined with German Expressionism, you have a disturbed protagonist unsure of his morality entangled in a web of lies far larger than himself, his beautiful nightclub singer lady friend, the stoic police inspector tracking him down, a sinister German doctor, and a whole bunch of sinister men in black trenchcoats hunting him down, all of it taking place in the city, at night, and in very heavily shadowed surroundings.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When John and Bumstead smash through the wall of "Shell Beach", Bumstead almost falls out but John saves him. Moments later, the Strangers attack, and Bumstead goes out through the force-field for real.
  • Flashback Cut: John's shattered memories of Shell Beach. Also how Dr. Schreber presents himself to John to teach him to master Tuning in mere seconds.
  • Forced Sleep: The Strangers have the ability to put people to sleep simply by waving a hand and saying "Sleep now." They also combine forces to put the entire city to sleep so they can work undisturbed.
  • Foreshadowing: On repeated viewings, a lot of lines and shots can be seen to call forward to the plot twist:
    • John is noticeably bleeding from his forehead in the first scene, which not only foreshadows the memory injections but also the aliens in the Strangers' bodies, which enter and leave through wounds in their foreheads.
    Crime Scene Cop: Ever notice how these things always seem to happen in the middle of the night?
    • Bumstead notes that Emma seems unused to wearing her wedding ring.
    • The second song that Emma Murdoch sings. "So remember when you tell those little white lies/that the night has a thousand eyes..."
    • Murdoch takes the fish from its shattered bowl and places it in a bathtub.
    • After Murdoch finds the newspaper clippings about the murdered prostitutes, one of them blows out of his hand onto the ground, where Mr. Hand steps on it.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: A subtle example whenever John uses his powers. Most noticeable right at the end, when his face is entirely in shadow.
  • Good All Along: Dr. Schreber.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Whatever Detective Walenski found out while investigating the case drove him utterly around the bend.
  • Gone Horribly Right: John Murdoch. The Strangers wanted to test humans and see what would happen. Murdoch happened. Dr. Schreber actually taunts them with this when they complain.
  • Graceful Loser: Mr. Hand, after the rest of the Strangers are killed, admits he’s dying and simply has a polite conversation with John where he explains his motives.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Emma wears a purple dress when performing "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", and also has a purple coat she wears in the latter half of the movie.
  • Green and Mean: Invoked. Most of the clothes John has arranged for him are green and the Strangers were planning to imprint him with the personality of a serial killer.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Inspector Bumstead learns this the hard and tragic way.
  • Happy Place: Shell Beach, which everyone knows yet no one knows how to reach. Unlike the perpetual darkness of the city, visions of Shell Beach are in bright, oversaturated sunshine. Did it ever exist before John "created" it? Who can say?
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dr. Schreber reveals that he's actually on humanity's side after all.
  • Hero of Another Story: Some of the Strangers' conversations imply that Murdoch wasn't the first to wake up when he wasn't supposed to. Mr. Wall mentions an incident where another Stranger seems to have been killed, asking the others if they remember what happened "last time". It's possible that Detective Walenski was one of those people.
  • Homage: This film is a love letter to German Expressionism and the classic Film Noir era. See Shout-Out for more details.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mr. Book is taken out by a telekinetically-thrown knife to the throat. Though the knife doesn't actually do him in, crashing into a water tower as he's flailing about does.
  • Info Dump: A well-done one, when Dr. Schreber explains the nature of the City to Murdoch and Bumstead.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: To an extreme degree! The Strangers’ whole purpose in creating the city and performing their nightly experiments is to study humans in order to become like them and reverse the death of their species.
    Mr. Hand: I wanted to know what it was like … how you feel.
    Murdoch: You know how I was supposed to feel. That person isn’t me—never was. You wanted to know what it was about us that made us human. Well, you're not going to find it <<points at his head>> in here. You were looking in the wrong place.
  • It Was a Gift: Bumstead's accordion, which he thinks he got from his late mother.
    Bumstead: It's a funny thing, though. I can't remember when she gave it to me. How do you think I could forget a thing like that?
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The prostitute May is blonde, upbeat and friendly (Light). John's wife Emma is brunette, troubled and distant (Dark).
  • Living Labyrinth: The city transforms at 12 o'clock, new buildings sprouting up and others retracting.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: Where is the city? Has it been sealed from the world? No. There is no world — it's floating in space.
  • Lovecraft Lite: There's an ageless race of squishy, invertebrate aliens who capture humans to toy with as they please, endlessly manipulating us for our entire lives, invisibly, and we are completely at their mercy... until one of us obtains their superpower, then the tables start to turn.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When John goes to the automat to retrieve his wallet.
    Cook: You left your wallet here, buddy.
    John: When did I do that?
    Cook: When you were last here.
    John: When was that?
    Cook: When you left your wallet. You expect me to remember?
  • Memory Jar: Dr. Schreber implants Fake Memories into people's heads with syringes, and he's later seen concocting the fluids that make up these memories.
  • The Men in Black: The Strangers are aliens impersonating men in dark formal clothing who manipulate and threaten people.
    • Interestingly, rather than the classical MIB archetype, they seem to be based a specific real-life case: that of Herbert Hopkins, an UFO researcher who claimed to have been visited in 1976 by a hairless, pale-skinned man with a black hat who demonstrated supernatural powers.
  • Mind Rape: The entire premise of the mysterious syringes, and inverted when Mr. Hand makes use of John's memories to track him down.
  • Mind Screw: The premise is quite disturbing once you really start thinking through its implications. The movie starts with a white desk clerk changing to a black guy between camera cuts and just keeps rolling from there.
  • Naked on Arrival: John Murdoch wakes up in a bathtub with no memories or a sense of identity.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Not only is it part of the film's atmosphere, it becomes a plot point.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: The murdered prostitute's daughter draws one of the crime scene.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently John wasn't the first "experiment" to wake up when he wasn't supposed to, and it's implied that another Stranger was killed as a result. When the Strangers are preparing to inject Mr. Hand with John's memories, Mr. Wall warns the others against the procedure, asking if they remember what happened "last time", and another Stranger agrees, lamenting "poor, poor Mr. Quick".
  • Ontological Mystery: John wakes up in a hotel bathroom with no idea how he got there or even who he is, and there's a murdered woman in the bedroom. As he tries to piece together his identity, it becomes increasingly clear that no one he meets is aware that they seem to be trapped in an anonymous city of constant night.
  • Opening Monologue: The opening scene in the theatrical cut has Dr. Schreber give an introductory narration about the Strangers.
  • Pillar of Light: A beam of light appears as the dark world dissolves.
  • Platonic Cave: In this case the "cave" is an alien spaceship/laboratory made up to look like an American city ca. the 1940s.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: The Strangers (really Octopoid Aliens with incredibly strong psychic abilities) can only occupy dead human bodies, hence their pale skin tone and sunken eyes. Presumably this is because possessing a living human would cause them to experience human emotions, which are fatal to their species. They're not picky either; one of them has taken the body of a dead child.
  • Power Floats: The Strangers move by eerily gliding, stock-still, around the city.
  • Powers as Programs: Dr. Schreber injects people with a substance that alters their skills and experiences in a heart beat.
  • Production Throwback: The movie theater advertises Book of Dreams, a previous film by Alex Proyas.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: All the Strangers (sinister Puppeteer Parasites occupying dead bodies) carry nasty-looking extendable knives which they love to threaten people with.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: "You've seen what we are. We use your dead as vessels."
  • Quest for Identity: John tries to find out who he is.
  • Regained Memories Sequence: At the climax, John gets injected with a syringe containing his missing memories, conveyed to the audience as a rapid-fire montage of flashbacks. Complicating matters is that these memories, and John's entire past, is completely fabricated as part of the Strangers' vast experiment, and even John knows by this point.
  • La Résistance: Schreber works as The Quisling for the Strangers, but has been secretly waiting for the moment to undermine them.
  • The Reveal: The city is actually a giant spaceship. The theatrical version ruins this surprise with the opening monologue.
  • Roof Hopping: Murdoch confronts Hand and flees other Strangers after a roof-leaping chase. Unusually suspenseful in that the buildings are changing shape as he's running across them.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Detective Walenski's bedroom (and, to a lesser extent, his office at the police station).
    Bumstead: [upon being shown to Walenski's office] I'm being punished for my sins, aren't I?
    Husselbeck: Everything Detective Walenski committed to paper should be here.
    Bumstead: The only thing that should be committed is Walenski. [finds a mouse trap in the stacks of paper] Nothing like a little healthy paranoia.
  • Rousing Speech: Dr. Schreber instructing John on Tuning, the Strangers' Underworld machines, and how to combat them in his memories.
  • R-Rated Opening: John Murdoch discovering a topless, mutilated prostitute in the room next door to his in the first scene (although oddly enough, this is one of only two times where we see blood or nudity).
  • Safely Secluded Science Center: The film's big twist is that the entire city is a secret research facility floating in deep space, and the city's human inhabitants are just abducted test subjects for the Strangers' efforts to uncover the truth of the human soul. For good measure, the central laboratory is hidden hundreds of feet beneath the city, to the point that it requires an underground monorail service to reach, and the Strangers themselves only venture out to adjust the memories of their captives — or to hunt down a test subject running loose.
  • Sanity Slippage: This is what happens when a Stranger is imprinted with the memories meant for a human, as we see first hand with Mr. Hand.
  • Scenery Censor: Subtle example: the bathtub water is cloudy enough to conceal John's nudity in the opening scene.
  • Scenery Porn: The city, the lighting, the cinematography, it's gorgeous.
  • Serial Killer: John was supposed to be one, but he woke up in the middle of the procedure and screwed up the memory imprint. Mr. Hand starts to become very bloodthirsty after imprinting himself with John's memories.
  • Servile Snarker: Dr. Schreber follows all the Strangers' orders, but still throws barbs at them occasionally, mocking one as "Mr.-Whatever-Your-Name-Is" and even giggling to Mr. Book's face that their experiment is going to bite them in the ass.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Nosferatu, as each of the Strangers Looks Like Orlok.
    • The Strangers are also partially based on the mob from M.
    • Dr. Schreber is named after a real person, Daniel Paul Schreber, a German judge who wrote Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, an account of his symptoms during nine years of Dementia praecox.
  • Spoiler Opening: The theatrical version begins with an Opening Monologue that completely spoils every major reveal and plot twist you're about to see. This was apparently mandated by Executive Meddling, as the studio thought viewers would be confused. It is conspicuously removed from the Director's Cut. (Seriously, do not start with the theatrical version if you're a first-time viewer who likes stories to contain any mystery at all! Many fans will watch the theatrical version on mute until the close up of Dr. Schreber's pocket watch.)
  • Squashed Flat: Happens to one of the Strangers chasing Murdoch when he gets trapped between two moving buildings at the wrong time.
  • Taking You with Me: When Mr. Wall throws Bumstead out into space, the inspector manages to grab his coat and pull Mr. Wall with him through the forcefield.
  • Terrain Sculpting: The strangers do this all the time, using their "tuning" powers to reshape the labyrinthine architecture of the city to conduct their experiments on the human inhabitants. After their defeat at the end, Murdoch uses his own tuning powers to create an ocean at the edges of the city.
  • They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste: The plot holes aren't. They're foreshadowing.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Or rather, thrown out the forcefield into space. So long, Bumstead and Mr. Wall.
  • Time Stands Still: Sort of. The Strangers shut down the city at midnight each night. When they do this, everyone stops what they're doing and falls asleep. It's shown that people driving cars and doing other things take steps to stop what they're doing first, so they don't accidentally injure themselves or others. John wakes up during one such event and is immune after that, and it's implied Walenski is the same way (but has no powers), hence why he's crazy.
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Mr. Hand's justification for being injected with John's memories. Other Strangers (particularly Mr. Wall) consider it a bad idea, primarily because attempting to imprint Strangers with human memories always results in the recipient Stranger's death. Mr. Book is willing to go along with it anyway, because Murdoch isn't blindly wandering the City, but following the clues the Strangers set out for him as part of the Murdoch-as-serial-killer experiment. The imprint will lead them down the path he's following far faster than trying to re-create the experiment. And besides, Mr. Hand is really interested in giving human sociopathy a try.
  • Transferable Memory: The Strangers are trying to isolate the human soul by tracking the effects of swapping memories around various people.
  • Tuckerization: Dr. Schreber is named after Daniel Paul Schreber — a German judge who suffered from psychosis and suspected schizophrenia. His book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness is alluded to many times throughout the film.
  • Verbal Tic: Mr. Hand says a hissing, rhetorical yes? after almost every sentence.
  • Water Tower Down: Mr. Book is thrown through a water tower because that's his weakness.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Strangers hate water, which is likely the reason that they designed the city with little to no water sources, and Shell Beach does not exist.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Strangers are conducting the city as an experiment into the nature of the human soul in order to save their dying race, and it's implied that they don't truly understand the cruelty of their actions.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: The Machine that amplifies the Strangers' powers rotates during the Tuning process.
  • Window Love: John and Emma are about to do this. Then John breaks the glass instead.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: John becomes one by the end, although he probably won't destroy the world.
  • World Gone Mad: In the climax, Mr. Book and John's psychic battle overloads the Tuning machine, causing the entire city to start uncontrollably warping.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Schreber is desperate for Murdoch to believe him, even though what he's saying seems impossible.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: John wakes up in a bathtub, unable to remember who he is.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dark City


A Lifetime Of Knowledge

Having no time to teach John Murdoch how to use his telekinetic "Tuning" powers the old-fashioned way, Dr Schreber simply injects him with the necessary memories - updating John's already-faked memories with useful information on how to stop the Strangers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / FakeMemories

Media sources: