In Cronenberg’s first original script since Videodrome, eXistenZ throws its characters into an unsettling, dizzying ride between material life and cyberspace to the point reality becomes distorted, when a video game designer survives an assassination attempt and flees with a marketing trainee.
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Why would you mention that it came out at the same time as 'The Matrix'? 'The Matrix' was a visionary film. This was a retread of Videodrome. It has his custom gross-out factor, but it's not put together very well, nor is it even slightly believable.
One of the most absorbing examples for Cronenberg’s obsession with the body and its penetration as well as - like in „Videodrome“ - with the idea of losing one’s grip to reality. „You have to play the came to find out why you’re playing the game.“ But what if you are not able to distinguish between game (as virtual reality) and life anymore?
This is to the 90s what Videodrome was to the 80s; a clever satire about the dangers of playing too many videogames. The real treat here is Cronenberg's visual imagination, there are so many cool designs and ideas going on here, and while similar films explored themes of reality around this era, none did so as successfully as this one. My favorite scene: the Chinese Restaurant.
My favorite elements of eXistenZ -- the last (for now?) and least of a particular kind of Cronenberg film, one in which the erotics of embodiment and the anxieties of identity and epistemology are observed through a prism of biomechanoid future-shock paranoia (as perfected in Scanners and Videodrome) -- are the NPCs, repeatedly trapped in script-loops, unable to move forward until given the "right" prompt. Demonic.
Wow. This was incredible. One of my new favorite Cronenbergs. Honestly the more I see by him the more he becomes one of my absolute favorite filmmakers. The plot and themes of this film are just amazing and loved all the disgusting body-horror-ish elements in the game pod designs. People often compare this to The Matrix and I have to admit it's about 100 times more original, more interesting and just better made.
A clever film set in a future where games can be played as if they are real life. That's where the genius strokes come from Cronenberg, in that, just as in Nolan's Inception, the audience never knows for sure which is the real world, & which is the game/dream world. This fluid mix makes the film edgy & tensive with no chance of guessing the final outcome. A Cronenbergian, fleshy, weird, intimate dose of unreality.