[box cover]

eXistenZ

David Cronenberg addresses yet again his favorite ideas of perverse self-mutilation and the quasi-sexual relationship between people and technology. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Allegra Geller, a pioneering game programmer whose latest creation is a fleshy, organic game-pod that plugs into a person's spine and takes them into a game-world that is supposedly more real than reality. Cronenberg's career has been poxed by an uneasy paradox in that his most brilliant films are practically unwatchable (his previous film, Crash, is his crowning achievement on both of those counts). However, eXistenZ is queasy at best and flat throughout. Cronenberg's plot-turning ideas on reality are stale, and his superficial attempts at storytelling and character here are bafflingly dull. It doesn't help that the game at the heart of the movie is indescribably uninteresting, which calls the whole endeavor into question. This time, Cronenberg's stomach-turning visuals are his only achievement, but, while intriguing, they are still a disappointment from a director who generally has a firm grasp on the darkest parts of the imagination. Also starring Willem Dafoe, Ian Holm, Jude Law, and Christopher Eccleston. Presented in 1.66:1 widescreen and DD 5.1. Keep case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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