Skip to content

Directed by Sam Raimi

United States 1990 96 mins. In English

In 1990 — over a decade before he was finally handed the reins to make a “real” superhero movie with Spider-Man, and after failing to secure the rights to adapt either The Shadow or Batman — cult director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) circumvented the big-time licensees and created Darkman, a sly inversion of superhero tropes which also doubles as a revenge thriller. In Darkman, Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is a scientist working on a formula for artificial human skin; meanwhile, his girlfriend, attorney Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand), has discovered an incriminating document that proves shady real estate developer Louis Strack Jr. (Colin Friels) has been bribing members of the city zoning commission. Strack sends a group of mobster goons to Westlake’s lab, wrongly believing that he has possession of the document. Left for dead, a physically and psychologically disfigured Westlake escapes into the shadows to perfect the artificial skin, then use it to disguise himself and infiltrate Durant’s organization, working both to protect Julie and exact his revenge on the men who destroyed his life. A masterful superhero noir that deserves a vaunted place next to Tim Burton’s 1989 take on Batman, Darkman was Raimi’s first chance to realize his madcap, stylized vision with a substantial budget, and it was not wasted.

Content warning for violence/gore


Genres: Action

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.