Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4

Awesome: 35.53%
Worth A Look42.11%
Just Average: 13.16%
Pretty Crappy: 5.26%
Sucks: 3.95%

13 reviews, 74 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Star Wars: Episode VIII : The Last Jedi by Jay Seaver

Darkest Hour by Jay Seaver

Shape of Water, The by Jay Seaver

I, Tonya by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


eXistenZ
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Intricate fun courtesy of Cronenberg."
5 stars

In the agreeably low-tech world of 'eXistenZ,' the elaborately entertaining film by David Cronenberg, technology has sort of gone backwards, or sideways, and become technobiology.

Those who fetishize computers and hardware won't find much to plug into in this movie, which imagines, among other things, guns made out of flesh and bone and virtual-reality gamepods that resemble nothing so much as pulsating sex toys. This is not the Cronenberg of Crash, a stark icicle of a film; eXistenZ finds him in a witty and playful mood. The whole movie is a game, visceral as well as philosophical; it's a great wild ride to stand alongside Cronenberg's Videodrome and Naked Lunch.

To attempt a plot synopsis would be folly; I will limit myself to the basic set-up. Jennifer Jason Leigh is Allegra Geller, a renowned virtual-reality game designer preparing to unveil her latest masterpiece, "eXistenZ." Unfortunately, a Khomeini-like fatwa has been issued on her life, and she goes on the run with public-relations rookie Ted Pikul (Jude Law), who becomes her bodyguard by default. What follows is 90 minutes of guess-what's-real hijinks. In Cronenberg's hands, however, such games are never played on the audience for their own sake: not for nothing do the game and the film have a metaphysical ring. A clue is provided the first time we hear someone pronounce the name "ex-is-tenz" which sounds closer to "existential" than to "existence." If, as existentialism has it, we are responsible for our own acts in this reality as we know it, what happens if that reality is false?

As the middle film in 1999's unofficial trilogy of virtual-reality fantasies, eXistenZ will no doubt be compared with the big hit The Matrix and the also-ran The 13th Floor, but Cronenberg works his own side of the street. He gets better and better as a filmmaker; every frame is meticulous in its control and purpose. Regular composer Howard Shore and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky build a firm aural and visual backdrop for Cronenberg's complex ideas and structure. Ted Pikul, the latest in a long line of passive Cronenbergian observers, is our onscreen counterpart; we share his confusion and are grateful when Allegra briefs him on the rules of "eXistenZ" (first rule: there are no rules).

Even without the icky organic biomechanics, eXistenZ would be completely in keeping with Cronenberg's method, which is to suggest that the world as seen through the eyes of the protagonists (and therefore through the audience's eyes) shouldn't be taken at face value. Cronenberg uses the multilevel construction of a game to show us what he has always shown us: that there is more than one way to experience reality. As the plot of the game keeps shifting, we are left without any bearings, without any way to know whether to trust anyone, even ourselves. This, of course, is life -- or existence.

Depressing? Not the way Cronenberg approaches it. He's a laughing existentialist here, a philosopher who sees the comedy in disorientation. In his version of Naked Lunch, everything we saw was merely the lead character's self-protecting fantasy filter for what was really going on, and here we go deep inside a game designer's contrived, cliched view of what's happening around her. eXistenZ comes complete with its own self-critiques, but it's not a shallowly amusing exercise in deconstruction la Scream; it's closer to our own detached experiences of watching ourselves watch ourselves until reality becomes a hall of mirrors in which we can't escape the reflection of our own perceptions.

'eXistenZ' is a fast and engaging joyride; it takes you around in circles, but you don't see the same things twice.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1322&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/12/07 17:43:36
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good ideas get lost in gross out effects 2 stars
5/21/10 Dane Youssef Superior to "Matrix" in ever way. Cronenberg refuses to disapoint. Wicked. 5 stars
7/02/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Cronenberg at his best 5 stars
3/24/09 JDigital One of the weirdest movies ever, great to watch on shrooms. 5 stars
3/17/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess One of the most imaginative films i've seen 5 stars
1/22/09 userNstuff this movie was freaking weird...not bad for 1999. seemed gay/homo? but had a cool ending 3 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Awesome! Alien orifices and bug-like creatures.Classic Cronenberg madness! 4 stars
7/29/07 QC cRappY. Can't believe Canadian taxpayers money was used to finance this junk. 1 stars
4/29/07 William Goss Intriguing concept soon grows redundant and wearying. 3 stars
5/08/06 K. Sear Fantastic. Cronenburg keeps getting better with age. 5 stars
3/12/06 matt this blew my mind, i was affected for several hours after and somewhat lost sense of realty 5 stars
12/27/05 Stu Hasic As a regular computer game player, I found there were many levels to this movie. 4 stars
12/09/05 havthat I thought this was really interesting and beautiful when it came out. 4 stars
10/07/05 Mr Whuschatio Interesting and Grotesque 4 stars
8/12/05 ES What?!? guns out of mutant fish bones?= a bad dream after food poisoning 1 stars
6/05/05 Indrid Cold Ultimately it's satisfying, but the plot moves WAY too slow to even come close to "Matrix" 3 stars
7/23/04 Samuel a pretty decent film. 4 stars
5/24/04 Daveman like most of Cronenberg's films, underrated 4 stars
3/06/04 malcolm not at all intriguing. just F-ing wierd for wierds sake. 2 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Worst Cronenberg EVER, Intensely homoerotic symbolism. Loopy plot. Videodrome for idiots. 1 stars
2/14/04 Lou great story telling, superb acting & look/feel 5 stars
1/01/04 William so! I think it`s realy freaky movie and it`s hard to find a movie like that!! 5 stars
7/03/03 DANIEL YES BIZARRE 5 stars
6/28/03 Nicole Bizarre 4 stars
3/24/03 Al This movie sucks, has no plot or special effects and the ending is very dissapointing. 1 stars
2/13/03 Luke Naidoo Wonderful Movie, really unexpected ending 5 stars
10/28/02 Taylor James Reality becomes a vanishing subset 5 stars
9/21/02 Ostrich Eddie Nice visuals, one of my favorite cronenberg flics. Very subtle and powerful. 5 stars
8/09/02 Jiz Would have seemed good had I not already seen 13th floor, which is the same damn thing 3 stars
7/26/02 Bada Bing Crosby I loved 'Crash' & other Cronenberg but this one was off the charts, plus I hate JJL, alot 1 stars
10/13/01 Bevan R. Clark Kick ass Cronenberg doing what he does best! 5 stars
9/25/01 Grisu one of the best sci-fi films about virtual reality ive seen, maybe even the best one 5 stars
9/08/01 Gary Inventive and enigmatic. Law & Leigh are good, but the final act gets much too frantic. 3 stars
9/08/01 Michiel Huitema Best part is when you turn off the TV 5 stars
9/04/01 perverted pixie If you like mucus this film is your heaven 4 stars
9/02/01 The-Dude good film 4 stars
8/28/01 Gary Likeable and funny with good turns from Leigh and Law, but goes way too over-the-top. 4 stars
7/17/01 SF fan Very good work. 4 stars
7/13/01 Puggy D Come on epeople, Cronenberg just plain kicks ass. 5 stars
6/12/01 Gizzy Didn't appreciate it until that stunning ending...Good stuff 4 stars
2/22/01 trashstar I liked it alot, very surreal imagery and concepts. 4 stars
2/14/01 c. Walken Cronenburg doing what he does best - mutating things. In this case it's reality he mutates 5 stars
1/28/01 Soggy Bottom Boy The best of the VR genre! One of Cronenberg's best outings, kick-@ss visuals, FX & acting. 5 stars
1/07/01 The Bomb 69 the ending was a total mindfuck, by the way, are we in reality now? 5 stars
6/29/00 Bevan R. Clark Not being a diehard Cronenberg fanatic myself, I thought "eXistenZ" was a masterpiece. 5 stars
4/11/00 Dr. Rev. Krule, MD Why did Jennifer Jason Leigh have like 4 different hair styles? 5 stars
12/15/99 Silent Bob Gets You Thinking about Reality 5 stars
12/13/99 Aiken Drum was expecting more from the film so was a bit disappointed. I still enjoyed it though. 3 stars
11/30/99 James Cox Really cool movie 5 stars
11/22/99 Ralf Behet An unremarkable Cronenberg. The ending was particularly flat. 3 stars
11/20/99 John Linton Roberson At last, the real Cronenberg returns 4 stars
10/28/99 Bozo It was disgusting & I haven't eaten Chinese since seeing it ten months ago 1 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Jennifer Jason Leigh is hot, the script is awesome, and the movie is pure intelligence. 5 stars
10/25/99 Dr. Fardook Lacks the cojones of his usual ... but still good 4 stars
10/14/99 Lame-Oh freaky as hell 5 stars
10/14/99 Tommi Neither Cronenberg's best flick, nor his worst 4 stars
9/16/99 strike one of the better Cronenbergs. 4 stars
8/19/99 JHON MARKY LION203 5 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Absolutely marvellous. Very um...visceral. I really like the way Cronenburg likes FLESH! 5 stars
6/04/99 Gasgano Good, but Phantom Menace was better. 3 stars
5/25/99 Mr. Film I saw it the night after Phantom Menace. It was BRILLIANT by comparison. Videodrome Lite. 4 stars
5/19/99 Heather Intriguing movie, you've got to admire Cronenberg 4 stars
5/14/99 Sanford Dostovesky Pure Genuis 5 stars
5/09/99 Ah Dooey Sci-fi at its best 5 stars
5/04/99 Jerry Excellent 5 stars
5/02/99 Ian Nathanson Give Videodrone a look first but applaude Cronenberg! 5 stars
4/30/99 Phlipit I was lost after the first scene but i don't give a damn it was simply smashing 5 stars
4/28/99 dirt very good 5 stars
4/25/99 kam cool 4 stars
4/25/99 Kirgo1 Original 5 stars
4/25/99 Mr Showbiz The latest take on virtual reality benfits from the vision of Cronenberg 4 stars
4/25/99 Justin S. Excellent. One of Cronenberg's best. Very strange and surprisingly funny. 5 stars
4/24/99 agustin interesting 4 stars
11/25/98 Lord Of The Dunce A really good film. Cronenberg might have broken through at last. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  23-Apr-1999

UK
  30-Apr-1999

Australia
  11-Nov-1999




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast