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eXistenZ (1999)

Jude Law , Jennifer Jason Leigh , David Cronenberg  |  R |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe, Don McKellar
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Writers: David Cronenberg
  • Producers: David Cronenberg, Andras Hamori, Bradley Adams, Damon Bryant, Michael MacDonald
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Dimension
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 1999
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000K31V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,324 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "eXistenZ" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Exciting stars Jennifer Jason Leigh (DOLORES CLAIBORNE), Jude Law (GATTACA), and Willem Dafoe (SPEED 2, AFFLICTION) challenge the boundaries of reality in this futuristic, critically acclaimed adventure thriller! During the first closed-door demonstration of an amazing new virtual reality game called eXistenZ, the system's brilliant designer, Allegra Geller (Leigh), is violently attacked by a crazed assassin intent on killing her and destroying her creation! Forced to flee into hiding, Allegra enlists a young assistant (Law) to help her in testing the damaged system ... by convincing him to join her inside eXistenZ! The action then explodes as their world's real-life dangers begin to merge with the fantasy of the game! If you're ready to play, it's now your turn to plug into this powerfully entertaining hit!

Director David Cronenberg's eXistenZ is a stew of corporate espionage, virtual reality gaming, and thriller elements, marinated in Cronenberg's favorite Crock-Pot juices of technology, physiology, and sexual metaphor. Jennifer Jason Leigh is game designer Allegra Geller, responsible for the new state-of-the-art eXistenZ game system; along with PR newbie Ted Pikul (Jude Law), they take the beta version of the game for a test drive and are immersed in a dangerous alternate reality. The game isn't quite like PlayStation, though; it's a latexy pod made from the guts of mutant amphibians and plugs via an umbilical cord directly into the user's spinal column (through a BioPort). It powers up through the player's own nervous system and taps into the subconscious; with several players it networks their brains together. Geller and Pikul's adventures in the game reality uncover more espionage and an antigaming, proreality insurrection. The game world makes it increasingly difficult to discern between reality and the game, either through the game's perspective or the human's. More accessible than Crash, eXistenZ is a complicated sci-fi opus, often confusing, and with an ending that leaves itself wide open for a sequel. Fans of Cronenberg's work will recognize his recurring themes and will eat this up. Others will find its shallow characterizations and near-incomprehensible plot twists a little tedious. --Jerry Renshaw

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant Cronenberg film January 9, 2004
Although eXistenZ came out around the same time as The Matrix, it seems to be a response to that film. Where The Matrix gave you a digital divide between reality and virtual reality, eXistenZ takes place in the gray area between.
But it's not a PK Dick rehash. Cronenberg spends as much time on the characters and their motives as he does on pseudo-intellectual questions of reality. (The film is also a humorous spoof of computer-game devotees.) Although there are a lot of scenes that lay flat --- instead of moving the plot forward --- the actors are so good, everything is easy to watch. Willem Dafoe is charming and scary as Gas, and Jude Law plays a pitch-perfect resourceful sidekick to Jennifer Jason Leigh. (You also have to hand it to Cronenberg for making the central character female without making her a damsel in distress or an masculine action heroine.)
This is a low-key but excellent movie. It's the kind of film you can enjoy over and over, picking up new bits of detail every time. It's not for everyone, of course. Cronenberg can repel some viewers with gooey special effects and psychological drama. But I think it's one of his best films, and certainly one of the best in 1999.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wait a minute is this a game? or is this reality? January 30, 2007
Your perception may be altered by this science fiction harbinger of things to come by David Cronenberg.. Continuing in the same vein of films like 'Videodrome' and 'Scanners' Cronenberg examines the effects of scientific progress and the fate of mankind.. It is so often the goal of game technicians, movie makers, and perhaps even the distributors of mind altering substances to create an alternate universe.. the nightmare of such endeavors is that it will lead to absolute confusion.. seperation from self.. it is something appealing yet terrifying.. to lose touch with reality.. this is what makes eXistenZ such an engaging thriller - one of the most thought provoking movies you will ever see.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cronenberg's Best Yet June 17, 2006
I truly feel sorry for anyone who was turned away from this movie by Ambrose's review (Although I doubt any intellegent human being would be). Maybe using spell check for your review and actually paying attention to the movie might make your review a little more credible. Anyway, "eXistenZ" is in my opinion Cronenberg's best film to date. This film is NOT for the typical movie watcher. For The life of me I can't figure out why everyone likes to see movies where you can just sit passively for an hour and a half and not think or learn anything. Just throw in Will Smith, some action, comedy, state of the art CG, and a little brief nudity and the general public will eat it up. "eXistenZ" is definitely not one of these movies. It really does "Make The Matrix Look Like Child's Play!" In fact, it blows all 3 Matrix's right out of the water. For anyone who liked "Videodrome" or "Naked Lunch" this film is not just a must see but a must own. My personal Favorite.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisting plot lines make this a great watch February 28, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
First off, can we please stop comparing this movie to 'The Matrix' simply because both movies are about virtual reality? It's a real waste of time trying to compare two movies that are so entirely different from one another. The only similarities are the ways that virtual reality can be used to enslave humans, but it ends there...
This movie isn't about action is a more 'cerebral' movie that examines the unconscious aspects of VR systems and asks not "what is reality?" but rather "where is reality?" eXistenZ is a disorienting movie that never actually tells the viewer WHERE the characters are, leaving the characters and the viewers in a confused and disturbed state that is very effective about leaving us with a vague sense of unease about VR.
You've really got to pay close attention to this movie and eliminate distractions when watching it to get the full effect. (If you're someone with a low attention span who prefers the gun-fighting of 'The Matrix' then this isn't really for you. The Matrix is a great film, but it really is a different kind of film.) There are some really crazy twists, and the plot is at times difficult to follow along, but it is a very rewarding experience, especially if you can make it all the way to the end of the ride.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and challenging February 10, 2007
Cronenberg probably conjures the best depiction of "virtual reality" and its potential psychological effect on people in this often incredible film. This is a tough and frequently unpleasant movie (what Cronenberg film isn't), relentless even (much like a video game!), but as social/technological criticism it has legs galore. I find myself studying the art direction, acting, and script to see how he tweaks and disorients so subtly all through the entire film. It is meticulously crafted. The "bad acting" noted by the other reviewers is a depiction of social disorientation, detachment, sociopathology, and near-autism in a nightmarish future society where people can no longer distinguish between illusion and reality (and, as you learn from the film, neither can the audience). The final moment of the film boldly makes that point.

My personal feeling is that this is Cronenberg's greatest achievement. However, it is high art and those that go into it with conventional film expectations will be (clearly ARE) disappointed. One for future film historians to write about, unable to comprehend how it sat on the fringes of acceptance for years. The negative reviews of this film deeply disturb me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I love it. Cronenberg really makes some strange movies
I love it. Cronenberg really makes some strange movies. This one reminds me alot of Videodrome. I just don't understand the director's infatuation with things that literally make... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Leon
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, Gory, and Fun!!!
"eXistenZ" is a mind-blowing exercise in alternate reality via a bio gaming system. One is never sure when the principal characters are in or out of reality. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert D. Arndt Jr.
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD x 5
BAD plot
BAD dialogue
BAD cinematography
BAD acting
BAD film
Published 2 months ago by James L. Bass
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and intriguing.
It's a shame that Cronenberg had to quit body horror so soon. eXistenZ is truly a thinking man's science fiction movie about the potential for video games to eventually become the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joe Finsternis
5.0 out of 5 stars i like the plot, but the art work was lacking on the rubber creature,...
good sci-fi, needed more work on making it look realistic
Published 2 months ago by La®®¥
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Cronenberg films.
I am one of those people that likes some but not all, of David Cronenberg's movies. For example, I dislike M butterfly and Dead Ringers. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Q
5.0 out of 5 stars inversion of values
The difficult end of career of the director Cronenberg reveals unfortunately gaps which were already in his style at the start and that our indulgence was considering just as some... Read more
Published 6 months ago by dimitriweb [this reviewer has been added to the top 10 (see more)]
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived Quickly
It arrived it great condition. I love this movie its got so many twists and turns it bound to keep you guessing. It gets better every time i watch it!
Published 7 months ago by Sarah Rice
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor film indeed!
Existenz is a movie about the future of virtual reality video games and its possible moral implications on society. Read more
Published 8 months ago by youngzen69
4.0 out of 5 stars Jude Law's acting is 5/5
Jude Law is a strong actor and his supporting actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is strong too. The movie gets kind of gross but the action is on the mark.
Published 9 months ago by MM
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