19 September 2016


eXistenZ 1999
  • Director: David Cronenberg
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe, Don McKellar, Christopher Eccleston, Sarah Polley
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Jude Law - Sherlock Holmes the Game of Shadows, Hugo, Contagion, Repo Men, Sherlock Holmes, Sleuth, The Holiday, Breaking and Entering, The Aviator, Sleuth, Alfie, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Cold Mountain, Road to Perdition, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Gattaca, Wilde
    • Jennifer Jason Leigh - Margo at the Wedding, Road to Perdition, A Thousand Acres, Kansas City, Georgia, Dolores Claiborne, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
    • Ian Holm - The Hobbit etc., The Aviator, Day after Tomorrow, From Hell, The Fifth Element, A Life Less Ordinary, The Madness of King George, Frankenstein, Kafka, Hamlet, Henry V, Dance with a Stranger, Brazil, Alien, Holocaust, O What a Lovely War
    • Willem Dafoe – Paris je t’aime, American Dreamz, Manderlay, The Aviator, Once upon a Time in Mexico, Finding Nemo, Spiderman, American Psycho, Lulu on the Bridge, The English Patient, Wild at Heart, Cry-Baby, Born on the Fourth of July, Mississippi is Burning, The Last Temptation of Christ, Platoon, Streets of Fire
    • Don McKellar – Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Slings and Arrows, The Red Violin
    • Christopher Eccleston – Fortitude, Doctor Who, 28 Days Later, The Others, Elizabeth, Shallow Grave
    • Sarah Polley – Slings and Arrows
  • Why? Curious to see why I wanted to see it again.
  • Seen:  Once before. Now 17 September 2016      

       My computer games are limited to Yahtzee, Patience and Candy Crush, so I’m really out of my league here. I seem to remember not understanding what was going on the first time we saw this but I remember that it was quite exciting. And Jude Law is always worth watching.
       Oh, he’s so young! Is this movie so old? For game geeks it’s probably hopelessly old-fashioned.
       Never mind.
       Game goddess Allegra (Jason-Leigh) is almost assassinated – shot by a weird pistol that shoots human teeth – at a trial of a new game she designed called eXistenz. Marketing trainee nerd Law has to hide and protect her.
       They start by hiding out in the real world but end up hiding and running in a bio-ported virtual world.
       It’s very weird. Jason-Leigh isn’t convincing as a sexy game goddess, Law is a wimp (talk about playing against character!) Eccleston is pre-Doctor Who with an American accent (Law has one too), Willem Dafoe is his usual sinister creepy self, Ian Holm does his jovial mad scientist. It’s pretentious with existential illusions of grandeur. Sci-fi aspects aside, it seems unlikely to me. For a gang of top actors, it has the feel of B-film amateurism with a bad script.
       And then it gets, well, intriguing. It’s one of the oddest films I’ve seen but there’s something about it in all its grossness. It has a cool surprise ending (I’m easily surprised). Spoiler alert: both Eccleston and Law get to revert back to their native British accents.
       It’s not a film to love and I’m still puzzled about why I like it but it was worth seeing this second time.

3 * of 5.  

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