eXistenZ

1999

Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

15
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 87201

Synopsis


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Cast

Jude Law as Ted Pikul
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Allegra Geller
Christopher Eccleston as Seminar Leader
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
819.1 MB
1280*714
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 37 min
P/S 11 / 82
1.55 GB
1920*1072
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 37 min
P/S 17 / 111

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bjrubble 10 / 10

Truly unique

Everybody seems to compare this to The Matrix and The 13th Floor, and when I first saw it I would have agreed -- I was expecting The Matrix and was a little disappointed. But upon repeated viewings my respect for this movie has grown immensely.

The thing to keep in mind is that The Matrix is a great action movie with some philosophical mumbo-jumbo thrown in. The 13th Floor is a passable action movie with some slightly more interesting philosophical mumbo-jumbo thrown in. Existenz is not an action movie at all, and is not (as many seem to believe) about "reality" or any such "deep" concept. It's about the human tendency to intentionally replace reality with an artificial (both in its origin and in its behavior) world of make-believe.

The most chilling moment in the movie is when Allegra Geller repeats her "scripted" line. It's at that point you realize that the people in the game have voluntarily surrendered their free will in order to participate in a story. This is made even more frightening at the end when D'Arcy Nader (or rather his player) comments on the possibility of spending one's life in the game. I sympathize completely with the "realist" philosophy, that providing interesting worlds in which people simply locate the correct predefined path to the end goal is ultimately a recipe for a soulless existence. Living "in the game" is not living at all, but is a tempting way to spend one's time on earth. As Allegra comments about the real world, "there's nothing going on here." Might as well jack into someone else's imagination, and pretend to be doing something interesting. (Although I have to ask whether Cronenberg considers this a self-indictment, considering that he himself offers up worlds to be experienced in 90 minute snippets.)

Upon leaving the theater after first watching this movie, I thought it was one of those movies that was watchable only to see how it ended. But having seen it a couple more times (thank you SciFi Channel) I've realized how much deeper it goes. Seriously, if you've only seen it once, it deserves another viewing.

Reviewed by peter_vangoethem 10 / 10

an existential psychotropic trip

David Cronenberg, much like colleague David Lynch, is an acquired taste. A director who plays with themes like reality, perversion, sex, insanity and death, is bound to get the most extreme reations from audiences. He proved this with films as The Fly, Naked Lunch, Crash and eXitenZ (capital X, capital Z) and more recently, Spider. It's best to see eXistenZ with a clear mind. Try not to read too much about the plot, or it'll be ruined for you. What I can tell you is that Cronenberg takes you on a trip down into the world of videogames that acts as a metaphor for any kind of escapist behaviour. Living out fantasies is something people always dream of, but how far can you go into it, before reality gets blurred and the fantasy takes over and turns into a nightmare? Those are the themes touched in eXistenZ, an exploration of identity, the human psyche, physical bodies being invaded by disease and most importantly, reality itself.

The story and directing are excellent. Cronenberg knows his trade very well and succesfully brings to life an artificial world, avoiding the usual pitfalls and clich├ęs linked to stories such as this. The film shows some pretty disgusting stuff, but is unusually low-key in the gore department in comparison to Cronenbergs other work. The shock effects he plays on are never over the top and the plot progression is very intelligent and creative. It's not the most intellectual movie ever, but it will leave you thinking about it, wondering and pretty confused.

The acting gets two thumbs up as well. Both protagonists, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law, play their parts perfectly and cleverly portray their character's shifting moods and identities. The dialogue may seem a little stale and clinical at times, but that is part of the effect Cronenberg was going for, to create a disaffected and alien atmosphere that puts you quite at unease. Supporting actors as Ian Holm, Don McKellar and an especially creepy Willem Dafoe lift the movie even higher with their disturbingly familiar performances.

This movie takes some getting used to, but if you can appreciate the dark tone, blood-curdeling imagery and existentially warping story, you'll love it.

Reviewed by hengir 7 / 10

A Shaggy Dog Story...but a good one

"We're both stumbling around together in this unformed world, whose rules and objectives are largely unknown, seemingly indecipherable or even possibly nonexistent, always on the verge of being killed by forces that we don't understand." So says Ted Pikul in the film. Which for some people sums up life and 'eXistenZ' probably is a film about existence. What is real and what is unreal and how you tell the difference. Or not. The last line of the film is superbly ambiguous.

The film seems like a shaggy dog story (indeed it has a real shaggy dog in it) but it takes you along on an interesting ride, full of provocative Cronenberg touches that will make you look at amphibians, game pods, fish, spines and bones in a new light. Some bits are quite icky. It takes place in a rural setting where the gas station is called 'GAS STATION' and a Chinese restaurant is called 'CHINESE RESTAURANT.'The film has an engrossing texture that is leagues away from your usual big budget science fiction movie.You can read many things into the film and it repays watching more than once.

The main actors are Jude Law who is OK and Jennifer Jason Leigh who is great. Some roles don't suit this very talented actor but when she has a good role like this she is unmatchable. Her unconventional beauty and fascinating voice suits the part of Allegra. (Looks great in a short black skirt too.) There are other familiar actors but they are not given much to do. It looks good, sounds good and a Howard Shore score complements the film very well. Cronenberg is possibly the Alfred Hitchcock of the sci-fi/horror genre. No matter what film he makes he is always worth watching.

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