- Movie Rating -

eXistenZ (1999)

| April 23, 1999

I like David Cronenberg’s work because in his best films like ‘The Fly’ and ‘Dead Ringers’ he is able to something bizarre, something grotesque and something oddly brilliant all at the same time. His last film ‘Crash’ about people with a fetish for car accidents fell short but ‘eXistenZ’ finds him right at the top of his game.

We are sometime in the future and a game designer named Allegra Geller (ever-reliable Jennifer Jason Leigh) has created a virtual reality game named eXistenZ. This is some game. It runs off of a cord, which hooks, into a bio-port that is implanted into the base of the player’s spine. The player squeezes a strange pod (at the other end of the cord) that looks like strangely like a fetus.

The game is being marketed by Antenna Research and one of the game’s test subjects is a trainee named Ted (Jude Law). Suddenly an assassin steps up and shoots Allegra in the shoulder. What comes out is not a bullet but a piece of bone.

Allegra and Ted are by now sure that they are inside the game. Allegra realizes later that she is not only inside the game but can’t get out of it. Ted receives instructions that he is to go to a certain Chinese restaurant and order the special. The plate consists of a lot of bone and when put together make up – you guessed it – a gun.

The rest I have to leave up to you. The movie becomes a clever cat-and-mouse game that gets more and more terminally weird as it goes along.

There are twists and turns and more bizarre developments in this movie until you aren’t sure if Allegra and Ted are playing the game or not. Sometimes they think they are in the game and sometimes we aren’t sure but it keeps you guessing and afterwards my friend and I had a long discussion over the ending, which comes as a complete shock.

I saw this movie a few days after I saw ‘The Matrix’ which is also about the reality of unreality but I found ‘eXistenZ’ to be the superior film. Both are good but I found the world of this film to be a little more depraved, a little more grotesque and oddly, a little more appealing. “The Matrix” comes out of the special effects department, “eXistenZ” comes out of the theater of the bizarre It is difficult to talk about this movie without giving anything away. eXistenZ will not appeal to everyone. It is a strange experience but a strikingly original one. It takes a strong stomach at time, this is after all a world in which the line between organic matter and inorganic matter is at times crossed. If you can’t take it on a surreal level you will find it as captivating and involving as I did. And if you have a dead solid theory on the ending, please e-mail me.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1999) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized