Reviewed By Erik Childress
Posted 02/15/00 15:11:55

"A Great 180 from Crash"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

eXistenZ (***) - Iím not the biggest David Cronenberg fan in the world. Just witness the placement on Crash on my worst list of 1997. But I do admire his talent, especially when heís dealing with science-fiction. The Fly and Scanners still rank at the top of his resume for me. And now eXistenZ can join the ranks.

This is one of his best. And while I say that - Iím saying that in the strictest terms that I was simply incredibly entertained by the film. Like Ravenous earlier this year, Iím only recommending this film to a certain select few, as no doubt, many will find this film lame and most likely, disgusting. Iíve seen grosser images in a Cronenberg film. Any number from Videodrome, one of the most repulsive films Iíve ever seen (because I was 9 when I first saw it) comes to mind. But here the gross-out effects work in terms of the plot. The gun that shoots human teeth rocks!!! But there are others. Consider the game pods that look like human organs, particularly female breasts or the umbilical cord plugs that hook into human spines as a power source to run the virtual reality game. All of it was fascinating to me. I was hooked from the very beginning all the way to its abrupt and slightly disturbing ending. Anyone who sees the film - try and think of the events of the past week in Colorado in context. Jennifer Jason Leigh brings a moody sensuality to her role as the video game designer and Jude Law continues to do good work as her naÔve security guard.

I was hoping the film was going to run longer than its mere 90 minute running time, and many may also feel like there should have been more towards the end - but it still all worked for me - on a completely different level than The Matrix did - making eXistenZ one of the most original entertainments of 1999.

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