Allegra (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a video game designer. The film opens with a small group of people and Allegra introducing her newest game creation called “eXistenZ”. She invites people within the group to participate with the new gaming experience. But just as she begins to load the game with her volunteers, someone from the crowd tries to kill her. Rushing to her aid is the security guard, Ted (played by Jude Law). The two then go on the run trying to escape the assassins. To top it off, Allegra’s gaming pod which has the one and only copy of eXistenZ now appears to be damaged. Now it’s up to Allegra and Ted to enter the game to ensure the next generation of virtual reality gaming is still working and playable.
For those who are not aware, eXistenZ is loaded with both sci-fi and thriller elements. As a plot, it doesn’t take long for the film to get into full motion (in fact only a matter of minutes). It personally didn’t take me long to get invested in this film because it set up so much mystery from the word go. Naturally, things become even more interesting as we see both Allegra and Ted encounter many hurdles together. eXistenZ is also full of many twists and unexpected turns throughout its duration which will keep viewers guessing until the end of the credits.
The world that has been created on screen is a rather fascinating one to see. It’s even more fascinating once Allegra and Ted begin to test out eXistenZ and play the game to ensure it still works.
As for our leads, there’s some good chemistry between the two actors and for the most part, I couldn’t fault their performances. Like the plot, our lead characters are also loaded with mysteries and I had suspicions upon my first watch. I remember my first viewing of this film to be rather memorable. I will admit though that my repeated viewing for this review (on DVD) felt like a much slower journey mostly because I already knew the big outcome of the plot (especially the ending) and all the little mysteries. Like many video games out there today, I guess once you’ve beaten the game, it’s rare to go back or have the desires to play it through again. eXistenZ feels a little like that for me personally.
Overall, eXistenZ is an entertaining sci-fi film with a few mysteries along the way. The film’s concept is rather creative and thankfully it doesn’t take long for the audience to become invested in the plot. Once you know the film’s ending and twists though, a second viewing isn’t the same ever again. Performances by both Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law are generally enjoyable. If you seek something different and fresh, eXistenZ is worth your time.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden