eXistenZ | Chicago Reader

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Director David Cronenberg (Crash) returns to form with this update of his 1983 Videodrome. This time the self-reflexive examination is of virtual-reality games, and it makes full use of the similarities in different modes of vicarious experience, including narrative filmmaking. Jennifer Jason Leigh is a game designer whose fans are given the opportunity to test the prototype of her latest creation at a convention. But the attendees include an assassin who's sworn to defend reality against the encroachment of institutionalized fantasy, forcing Leigh to go on the run with Jude Law, a marketing trainee who isn't into gaming but takes his job very seriously. There are no easy correspondences in this barely allegorical allegory about how we may have become desensitized to violence. Audaciously combining conviction and childish humor, this SF thriller reminds us that the distinction between the tangible and the intangible may be frighteningly arbitrary—an idea that's made too scary ever to seem trivial, no matter how silly things get (1999). R, 97 min.
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Producer: Bradley Adams, Damon Bryant, David Cronenberg, Andras Hamori, Robert Lantos and Sandra Tucker
Cast: Jennifer Leigh, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Ian Holm, Don McKellar, Callum Rennie, Sarah Polley, Christopher Eccleston, Robert A. Silverman, Oscar Hsu, Kris Lemche, Vik Sahay, Kirsten Johnson, James Kirchner, Balazs Koos, Stephanie Belding and Gerry Quigley

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