The Story: A young amnesiac (UK heartthrob Rufus Sewell) wanders through a shadowy nameless city searching for his identity. Along the way he meets a stony cop (William Hurt), a gorgeous singer (Jennifer Connolly) who may or may not be his wife and a race of alien beings capable of altering reality as we know it. (No, they don’t work for the CIA.)
How It Plays: The futuristic plot may prove impenetrable (or just plain weird) and some of the performances are a matter of taste (like Kiefer Sutherland’s bizarre turn as a shifty-eyed scientist.)
However, there is no denying the film’s potent visuals. Skyscrapers rise out of the earth, rooms change shape and black-hooded figures glide thru the air as director Alex Proyas samples from modern classics (Blade Runner) and early German silent films (Nosferatu, Metropolis).
Let’s put it this way: If Fritz Lang was in his 30s and weaned on a steady diet of dark music videos, Frank Miller comics and computer wizardry he might have made a film like this.