eXistenZ Review

by DeWyNGaLe (dewyngale AT aol DOT com)
April 25th, 1999

eXistenZ by DeWyNGaLe Rating: A-


Wow. eXistenZ, directed and written by David Cronenberg, was certainly a surprise film for me. This film just proves that trailers and hype don't mean anything with a movie, because the cast was somewhat unfamiliar with me, and the strange trailers were not too great, and I had hardly heard anything about this little known film. In eXistenZ, Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as famed computer programmer Allegra Geller, who has just completed her latest game, entitled eXistenZ. Allegra's games are much different from anything that we have out today, such as Nintendo 64 or PC games. In Allegra's games, you are put into virtual reality. In order to participate in one of her games, you must have a bio-port hole, which is a small hole inserted into your lower back. To get inside the state of the art game, an object called a pod must have its cables inserted to your bio-port hole.

Allegra is very excited about eXistenZ. At the premiere of the program, an attempt to assassinate her takes place, which also damages the eXistenZ program. In fear that it is destroyed, Allegra must enter the program with another person to see if everything is working properly. A man named Ted Pikul (Jude Law) becomes that person after he takes care of Allegra after she was shot in the shoulder. The two enter the program, and experience something they never have before. The program of eXistenZ puts you in a completely virtual world, but it seems very realistic. You do not know what the point of the game is until you reach the end of the game. From here, eXistenZ turns into one of the most interesting and fun movies I have ever experienced, making my mind become extremely involved with the content of the film.

The plot, much like the less superior film The Matrix, is twisted a little more than in The Matrix. It is much more fun, and it actually makes a lot more sense than The Matrix ever did to me. It is explained a lot better, and certainly a lot more interestingly. Although I loved The Matrix, eXistenZ is just one step further than it in many ways. What added the most to eXistenZ was the extraordinary, well-done, surprising ending. The film overall is just a whole lot of fun, doing everything that was necessary to get you caught up in it in just a ninety seven minute running time. David Cronenberg certainly made the best possible use of this time as he could.

This is the first movie that I have seen starring Jennifer Jason Leigh in, and now I would like to see more of her performances. She is great in eXistenZ, making you believe every scene she is in. Jude Law, whom I have only seen in 1997's Gattaca, was just as good in this as he was the 1997 overlooked film with Uma Thurman. Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh are marvelous on screen together, helping to create the reality of eXistenZ. There are many supporting performances which added to the film, including ones by Ian Holm, who played Kiri, a man who helped fix the eXistenZ program pod, Willem Dafoe, who played Gas, an evil character in the game, Sarah Polley, who played Merle, and Don McKellar who played Yevgeny Nourish, another rarely seen character. These performances didn't have room to expand or go anywhere, but that's ok. The central focus was on Ted and Allegra, and that's what is the important here.
Special effects play an important part in the film. Strange creatures, called mutated reptiles, are very realistically done, and were very creative looking. The special effects aren't all pleasant in eXistenZ though. Many disturbing images are about in the film, making me shift in my seat or cover my eyes. That just goes to show how well done they were though! The special effects, put together with the acting and plot, make for an original, wild ride through what games could be like in the coming years. Could this become a true story in the future? Only time will tell.

The Bottom Line- I wish more movies were in existence like eXistenZ.

More on 'eXistenZ'...

Originally posted in the rec.arts.movies.reviews newsgroup. Copyright belongs to original author unless otherwise stated. We take no responsibilities nor do we endorse the contents of this review.