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EXISTENZ

 
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At Theaters: 4/23/1999 On Video: 10/19/1999
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 37 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 049911
Studio: Dimension Films
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Storyline Heading

Set in the near-future, eXistenZ depicts a society in which game designers are worshipped as superstars and players can organically enter inside the games. At the center of the story is Allegra Geller whose latest games system eXistenZ taps so deeply into its users fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism.

DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Futuristic Thriller - Fans of director David Cronenberg and older viewers who like their science fiction cerebral will enjoy this thought-provoking thriller. Those looking for more action-oriented sci-fi would be best watching The Matrix.
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Cast and Crew Heading
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Georgia)
Jude Law (Gattaca)
Wri/Dir: David Cronenberg (Crash)
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Production Notes Heading
About The Background
The Cast
About The Production
Special Effects
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: Occasional use of strong profanity.
SEX/NUDITY: None
VIOLENCE: Bloody shootings and other acts of violence.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: None
ACTION: None
COMEDY: A humorous situation, line or two; virtually none.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Pictures © Dimension Films ®
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Critic's Review Heading
Good
Leave it to writer-director David Cronenberg to turn conventional perception on its ear. His latest film, eXistenZ, is indeed part of the recent crop of virtual reality-themed thrillers, but Cronenberg's take on the concept is truly unlike anything ever seen. Its story, about a VR game designer on the run from assassins, is only superficially engaging, but that matters less to Cronenberg than the imaginative trip on which his film takes its audience and the eerie feeling of unease it leaves with them at the end. In that sense, eXistenZ is one big game, but it is definitely one worth playing--or, rather, one to be played by.

DETAILED CRITIC'S REVIEW
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D ETAILED S TORYLINE
The name of the game is eXistenZ, a system based on technology so advanced that it borders on biology. It's a quantum leap ahead of anything ever imagined possible.

The top executives from Antenna Research are all on hand for the testing of their new game, but what sends a buzz of excitement through the audience is the presence of the brains behind eXistenZ, the adored game goddess herself, Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is hip, hyper-aware, sexually alluring, and utterly dedicated to her invention.

The air is crackling with anticipation in the small community hall where dozens of game devotees are gathered to experience this ultimate adventure that will forever shatter the line that separates wild and unpredictable fantasy from reality.

What brings such intense realism to eXistenZ is the fact that the game's driver, a pod that bears a resemblance to a living organ, plugs directly into it's player's nervous system via a bioport or spinal jack, which has been implanted into each of these fanatical gainers. Because the pod has access to the memories, anxieties and preoccupations of its players, the direction each game takes depends entirely on who's playing.

The moment finally arrives, and the eager players plug in for the ride of their lives, rocking and swaying, lost in the dreamy world of the eagerly awaited innovation. Suddenly, they're jarred from their fantasy world by an anti-eXistenZialist protester wielding a strange weapon - an organic fusion of gristle and bone, capable of shooting its ammunition of human teeth at fatal velocity. Shouting "Death to eXistenZ! Death to the demoness Allegra Geller!" the man fires the weapon, severely damaging the game-pod.

In the pandemonium that ensues, Allegra is whisked away by Ted Pikul (Jude Law), a low-ranking Antenna Research employee who is serving as a security guard for the event. A chase follows, with the unlikely duo of Allegra and Pikul seeking shelter in a world where nothing is as it seems, and where the villains of the game become real. A world where the hunters pursue our heroes directly into eXistenZ, the game Allegra has invented.

Allegra is strangely at home here, but for Pikul, whose imagination doesn't extend beyond dreams of the boardroom, it's a landscape brimming with peril and danger. He's uneasy in this odd land as he struggles to keep himself and Allegra ahead of the assassins - out to cash in on the $5-million bounty that the Anti-eXistenZialists have put on the game genius' head.

Pikul finds eXistenZ breathtaking in its realism, as the pair is launched into an eerie and strange new setting. The action is swift and full of fiendishly clever effects and plot twists conceived in the imaginations of the players as the couple explores deeper realms of the game.

Finally, with the game threading its way through increasingly fantastic levels of intrigue, the forces of Anti-eXistenZialism close in on Pikul and Allegra.

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