Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective.
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.
IMDB – 3 wins
BRRip 720p | MKV | 1280 x 720 | x264 @ 2048 Kbps | 97 min | 1,57 Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 160 Kbps | Subs: English (embedded)
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller