Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night LI
Why didn't this movie make more waves when it was released in 1999? Written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh (meow), and Willem Dafoe, it's an evident influence on films such as AI and The Matrix. Equal parts exploration of video game development and playtesting culture -- and dive into virtual reality technology -- the movie just amazed me. The script and the acting had video game play elements down pat, from repeated motions and actions until a character is engaged to the use of trigger phrases or saying a character's name so they recognize you're addressing them. The neo-organic game devices and erotic undertones (which I remember the movie's marketing to play up even though they're such a small part of the movie) add a nice undercurrent of tactile arousal. What starts out as a hero's quest turns into a psychological thriller, and in the end, you're left wondering where the game ends -- and where the movie begins. Brilliant. Under recognized. Well worth watching if you have any interest at all in video games, technology, or science fiction.

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