Let’s Talk About Kiefer Sutherland’s Performance in Dark City

One of the great things about writing for your own blog with three viewers is that you can write about whatever bullshit pops into your head, even if it has nothing to do with current events. I know the Switch just put its unique spin on consoles and, quite possibly, the best Zelda ever just hit the shelves; movies like Logan and Get Out are wowing audiences and movies like A Cure for Wellnessum, exist, but sometimes something from you past sticks with you, and you have to get it off your chest. Something so vile, so horrible, so alienating that even after years of mentally cleansing yourself with shitty movies like Troll 2, you go back to it, wondering what the fuck it was. It keeps you up at night, burned into your mind like a cancer. For me, this thing is Kiefer Sutherland’s performance in the sci-fi noire Dark City.

We mostly know Kiefer as gruff guy-with-pistol, Jack Bauer, or the bully vampire from The Lost Boys, or, even more recently, the voice of gruff guy-with-tranquilizer-pistol Venom Snake in MGS 5. These are characters with a lot of backbone, characters that are leaders. These are characters that would kick your ass for farting in their direction. Got that image in your head? Toss it out because in Dark City, Kiefer plays whiny, asthmatic Dr. Schreber.

Let’s take a look at ol’ Kief’s performance!

What is he doing!? Why is he breathing so hard?? I always imagine how hilarious it would be if the camera panned down and he was on a Stairmaster—EVERY SCENE. Did he think this was a good idea? I feel like the director was like “I’d love a German accent,” and he was like, “WELL… I can breathe a lot!”

Let’s double dip:

It’s so distracting and infuriating to me. Dark City’s a cult film that I don’t really love or hate, but this performance by Kief has always stood out to me in it.

And I had a surprisingly hard time finding real criticism of this performance from reviewers (it’s fairly well received) but we live in the age of information manipulation, so let me share some insights of only people that agree with me.

“…Sutherland, whose halting delivery sounds eerily like William Shatner impersonating Peter Lorre.” Pete Vice, Deseret News

Kiefer Sutherland’s performance as the Doctor ran a little too close to a bad impression of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame…

“…Kiefer Sutherland’s breathless delivery is more annoying than innovative,” says film critic Madeleine Williams.

These made me laugh. Anyways, here’s another video I made:



3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Kiefer Sutherland’s Performance in Dark City”

  1. I’m watching Dark City now and all I can think about is everything you say above. It’s pissed me off so much I’ve had to find out if anyone else in the world has had the same experience – so thank you for sharing, I feel better.

    What the fuck were they thinking?


  2. I’m watching it now and it’s such a soul suckingly awful performance I had to find out if anyone else had taken the time to comment on it. It is EXCRUCIATING. The strange pauses and gasps, it’s almost spectacular in its mannered direness. Thank you for confirming that it isn’t only me who is wincing my way through it


  3. I couldn’t agree more! I was so incredibly annoyed!! His acting almost completely ruined the entire film, for me. I just could not hold it again some of the “real” talent in this film. I’m so glad you wrote this article and that I was not alone in my thinking on Sutherland’s botched performance. Deplorable!!


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