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The City Dark (2012)


Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 13
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


User Ratings: 831


Movie Info

After moving to New York City from rural Maine, filmmaker Ian Cheney asks a simple question, "Do we need the stars?" Exploring the threat of killer asteroids in Hawaii, tracking hatching turtles along the Florida coast, and rescuing injured birds on Chicago streets, Cheney unravels the myriad implications of a globe glittering with lights - including increased breast cancer rates from exposure to light at night, and a generation of kids without a glimpse of the universe above. Featuring stunning … More

Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Argot Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The City Dark

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (4)

Poetic, at times profound...

Full Review… | April 5, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

An illuminating documentary about what constant exposure to artificial light does to our bodies, our minds and the natural world.

Full Review… | January 19, 2012
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A documentary about light pollution that is entertaining and thought-provoking? It hardly seems possible, but that's what Ian Cheney has made in "The City Dark."

Full Review… | January 17, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

Cheney is welcome to his anxiety, but not to the specious science of societal collapse by street lamp.

Full Review… | January 17, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

The failure to mention the environmental consequences of energy overload, even in passing, seems a particularly grievous oversight.

Full Review… | January 17, 2012
Time Out New York
Top Critic

An informative, well-rounded look at light pollution told with a star-gazing enthusiast's passion for his subject.

Full Review… | November 2, 2011
Top Critic

An eloquent and compelling documentary on the dire effects of light pollution in cities and the spiritual consequences of not being able to see the bright starry sky at night.

Full Review… | July 3, 2012
Spirituality and Practice

...a frustratingly superficial look at a range of topics without making sufficient differentiation between what is established as a fact, what is a working hypothesis, and what is merely speculation ...

Full Review… | January 31, 2012

The film not only scores on the expected environmentalist level, but also as a more probing examination of the value of "civilization" as commonly understood as based on artificial light.

Full Review… | January 20, 2012

Documentary on the dangers of artificial light alternates between quirky and profound.

Full Review… | January 18, 2012
Film Journal International

As an effort in civil duty, The City Dark would earn three sturdy stars, but as a film it's lacking.

Full Review… | January 16, 2012
Slant Magazine

Crafted as mournful meditation that is both sobering and sublime, personal and global, the doc is a poetic and political challenge to the notion of human progress. And where civilization may have won the battle against primitive life, but lost the war.

Full Review… | January 15, 2012

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