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The Net
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The Net More at IMDbPro »

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45 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Very well done and thought out.

9/10
Author: (jww@jwcomp.com) from Lawrenceville, NJ
10 April 2005

If you're actually reading this review, I give you a lot of credit. You care enough to actually look up this movie, which most people have forgotten about and then cared to read beyond the first review! So for your reading pleasure...

I'm assuming you know the plot line already so I won't waste time typing that out. I will mention that Sandra Bullock did an amazing job with this movie. She really brought a lot of sympathy to the role of a computer programmer, often difficult to do. I can say this because I happen to be a computer programmer.

Anyway, I thought the basic plot was a very good one. You can easily build sub-plots upon its mainframe and turn it into a very enjoyable movie. The premise is also scarily realistic in that this can all really happen if the right precauctions aren't taken.

To make a long review short...oops! Too late! If you enjoy Sandra Bullock bringing a role to life and want to see a very well made movie for the time, take a look at this little gem. You won't be disappointed. :-)

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34 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

25 years ago this would have been science fiction. Today it's cliché.

6/10
Author: Michael DeZubiria (wppispam2013@gmail.com) from Luoyang, China
25 July 2004

Odd the way technology works. Less than a decade ago, there was this completely different technological world, a world of pagers, floppy disks, dial-up modems (which are as obsolete as typewriters), and gigantic brick-like cell phones. I remember being amazed at that little tiny flap at the bottom of the phone, as thin as a credit card and yet able to pick up your voice and transmit it through the air. Now it's a feature so obsolete that it may as well never have been there. Sandra Bullock plays Angela Bennett, a lonely computer analyst who is so connected to her computer that she sits on the beach in Mexico, on her first vacation in six years, with her laptop on her lap. It's not only like a source of nourishment but her connection to the world and the establishment and maintenance of her identity.

This is where her problems begin. Like The Manchurian Candidate back in the 1960s (and again in less than a week from this writing), The Net plays on the popular fears of the society in which it is released. The Manchurian Candidate originally played off the fears instilled in people by the recently ended Cold War, while The Net, a much less potent thriller, suggests the scary possibilities of a world in which we are so inextricably connected to computers. Probably the most interesting thing in the movie now is the computers, such as the massive laptops with the tiny screens, the indispensable floppy disks which are now almost nonexistent, the graphics, etc.

Angela Bennett has had her digital identity stolen and replaced with that of Ruth Marx, who has a lengthy police record and who thus takes over Angela's identity. It's pretty clever, I suppose, the way the movie presents Angela as though she hasn't left her apartment in six years and with a mother suffering from Alzheimer's (and thus not able to help identify the real Angela later), but it's pretty hard to believe that not a single person in the office where she worked noticed that Angela started being a completely different person. She had no significant other, was not dating, and no parents who could identify her, but was she such a recluse that even the people in the office she worked in didn't even know what she looked like?

At any rate, the plot of the movie is pretty smartly created, although it is created as though it were an excuse for a lot of chase scenes, one of which takes place on a merry-go-round in a great homage to Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train, one of the many classic films to which the movie alludes, several of them other Hitchcock films. Bennett has been given a disk which contains a website, I suppose, which turns out to contain a weakness in a security system about to be set up to protect everything from banks to Wall Street to the CIA. By holding down Control and Shift and clicking on the little Pi icon in the corner of the screen, you are transported from a ludicrous page about Mozart's Ghost, apparently a god-awful metal band, and into highly classified government documents. The disk provides the bad guys with a reason to want to capture Bennett, and thus you have a movie.

Angela goes from a comfortable but bored computer analyst, doing a lot of her work from home and ordering pizza on the Internet at the end of the day (presumably one of the future possibilities of the internet which never came to exist), to a wanted fugitive, ultimately caught and put into a jail cell for someone else's crimes. She has lost her home, her job, her identity, her life. Bullock actually puts in a pretty good performance in the movie. I'm not a huge fan, but I appreciated the realness that her character had, since she is not an over the top actor, her characters are generally very real because she is as well.

Where the movie trips up is that it tries to suggest that such identity theft could happen to anyone in our technological age, but given the effort put into presenting Angela as someone with no personal contacts with just about anyone, really it could only happen to someone like Angela, and are there really that many people that no one can identify by looks? Even the guy at the local video store might recognize her as the lady who rents under her account. Oh well. There's also a glitch in the end of the movie that Mick LaSalle points out and that only people familiar with San Francisco, where the climax of the film takes place, will notice. As Angela rushes through a Macintosh exhibition at the real Moscone Center, she desperately tries to copy all the computer files before the bad guys get her. Pretty tense, but if she had been smart, she could have gone to The San Francisco Chronicle office, which is a block down the street from the Moscone Center.

But hey, maybe the Chronicle doesn't have high enough walkways out back.

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39 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Good Suspense; Bullock Tolerable For Once

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
5 November 2006

This is a typical Sandra Bullock movie in which she plays a mousy (but profane) woman who is in trouble but finds a way to survive and be the hero. Sound familiar?

There are plenty of holes in this story. Things just don't add up and some of the suspense is a little corny. But - that suspense is very good. There is a lot of tension in this story which has strong paranoia running through it. The story starts off slow but kicks in pretty soon and stays that way, making it an involving movie for the viewer. That's why I give it a pretty good rating - the movie gets you involved in it. Bullock is more cute than annoying, which she normally is to me, so this is my highest-rated movie with her in it.

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41 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Her driver's license. Her credit cards. Her bank accounts. Her identity. DELETED.

8/10
Author: Lady Targaryen from Brazil
11 November 2005

The net is an excellent movie! It's about Angela Bennett(in a great performance of Sandra Bullock) who is a computer expert who works for the Cathedral Company, cleaning virus and testing games for the clients. Angela is a typical nerd who doesn't have friends outside of the cyberspace,almost doesn't take vacations and go out, and stays almost all the time connected. One day her friend Dale Hessman(Ray McKinnon) asks her to help him,sending Angela a disk with a strange program that has many confidential informations. At the same night, when Dale was going to meet her, he is suddenly killed in a plane crash.Going to Mexico in her vacation,Angela meets a beautiful guy called Jack Devlin (Jeremy Northam)who shows to be a cold blood killer bastard and one of the guys behind all the secret of the Diskette.

Her life then turns into a nightmare: All her records are erased and she is given the new identity of Ruth Marx, a woman with serious problems with the police.

This movie is great because it shows how we, humans,depend a lot of the computers and machines(sometimes more that we should) and how vulnerable we are if someday ,someone decides to control and change our personal records,without letting us the chance to prove the error.

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18 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Cyber-thriller has a few internal glitches, but it keeps on running.

6/10
Author: Jason C. Atwood from Suffolk, Virginia
17 February 1999

This isn't a bad movie thriller to keep you off the Internet for two hours, but can you take the risk? THE NET sounds unconvincing since our love of computers and cyber-sputting expresses what the story is all about, and a possible fad to recognize. Thankfully, it does attempt to bring some raw suspense that is head-and-shoulders above other lame films that contend to "artificial communication". Once again, Sandra Bullock knows how to keep her fans happy, and even though it's no "chick-flick", she's still the likeable character inside. This time, she's stalked in a game of cat-and-mouse and becomes ruined by an identity crisis. Even with the brand new concept of cyberware, that's just normal for a suspense thriller. An old, traditional "chase" plot gives the movie a blip on the screen, but the story is greatly paced and exciting enough to increase your pulse rate to rapid highs. The computer mess is the biggest fuss some viewers will have in common, including all those not used to this new style. A good shot at a modernization of mystery-suspense films, but you know exactly what to predict here. Why the new TV series?

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

THE NET : Irwin Winkler Wastes The Film's Potential...

5/10
Author: cwrdlylyn from United States
3 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE NET

I certainly didn't expect this movie to be classic when I put it in last night. I was thinking it would be a "no-brainer" stupid little thriller starring Sandra Bullock. Essentially... I was right.

THE NET had the potential to be a better film. The storyline actually creates situations of immense suspense and is paced rather well. The whole computer virus storyline is so confusing to someone not too familiar with computers... and I'm sure there are plot holes in there, but I didn't notice.

What keeps THE NET from being truly good is terrible direction. Lately, I've started to notice how easily a bad director can destroy a film and this was a good example... certain moments in this film are just comically bad.

The scene of Sandra Bullock's boat get away and her impending crash looks terrible. And normally I can forgive obvious special effects... but I'm sorry, the obviously fake rocks, the poorly edited stunt woman, the ridiculous close ups on Bullock's face. This moment is so terrible and just acts like a giant speed bump in the growing action.

Aside from this, Jeremy Northam is god awful in his role. He goes so far over the top trying to be this seductive threat in Bullock's life that I was laughing many times when I wasn't supposed to be. The more threatening, angry, and sexual he tries to get... the less frightening he becomes. Not an ounce of nuance or subtlety. Where was a director telling him to hold back? Or just to tell him... get off my set... you suck! Otherwise, the director, Irwin Winkler, takes far too long at times when he doesn't need to. I liked the Dennis Miller/Sandra Bullock love story that started to develop. But in the end, the scenes are pointless and they come to an abrupt end. And anytime Sandra Bullock was on the run, Irwin Winkler just keeps the camera rolling. There is no example of tightly constructed... suspenseful editing.

On the plus side, despite the flaws, the movie still can be exciting at points... and Bullock has some good moments that show some deeper potential. Had this film been done by a director with a keener eye, perhaps both Bullock and the film could have been much better.

As is, it's the kind of film that's easy to sit through... but that's partially b/c it's so bad it's good. It's not the worst film that ever was, but it could have been far better.

... C/C- ...

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

what bugs me most about this movie

4/10
Author: kirstymd from Vancouver, WA
5 July 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay... she's on the boat with this guy, realizes he's out to kill her, knocks him out, and then finds the reason he's out to off her is this disk that got her coworker killed. So what would any rational person do? Maybe conk him over the head again to make sure he's really out?? Tie him up?? Look, Sandra honey, you've got the chance to escape while the guy is out for only so long. Until you know how long it will take you take you to escape, make sure he's not able to come after you. I HATE these stupid female victim roles. The rest of the movie was just a series of twists and turns that were completely convoluted and too unbelievable to remain interesting.

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14 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Not to be taken internally or seriously...

Author: James Houston (thermoj) from Las Vegas, NV
1 July 2002



In the dim, dead, dark days preceding my ownership of a PC, I was rather intrigued with the movie. Very Hitchcockian in its tone, and kind of a David-beats-Goliath theme that every one can relate to (Apple vs. Microsoft, employee vs. boss, ad infinitum). Seven years hence...I realize that many of the governmental entities supposedly "hacked" were, at the time of this movie, utilizing systems built when leisure suits were still the rage--and IBM was lord and master of the computer domain. Granted, hackers can be considered a real and acknowledged threat, but we should take this movie for what it is...Just some passably good entertainment and not too representative of R/T (Real Time for all you Netsurfing newbies). However, the plot remains fundamentally sound, and not too taxing on the mind.

Sandra Bullock gave a reasonably credible performance as programmer/support tech/consultant Angela Bennett. I realize that sex appeal fuels Hollywood, and it IS possible to have beauty and brains. But the story seems to have some fundamental flaws. What are the odds that NO one would know who you really were...It's impossible to think that we really have become the so-called "ghosts in the machine". As long as we have receipts, hard copies,friends and loved ones, we won't be caught in "The Net."

Some good performances by the smooth but irreverent Dennis Miller, and by the suave but deadly Jeremy Northam make for a movie worth watching when there's nothing better on the boob tube...Or if you're a closet geek like yours truly, you call friends and laugh about all the inaccuracies.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sandra Bullock as a nerd? Yes, and Claudia Schiffer is a door stop.

Author: Gary-161
16 January 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*SPOILERS*

There is an early scene where someone decides to shoot himself in a deserted park. The camera pans to the green and tracks a flock of birds as they are startled and fly off into the sky. Do you know what? I think this was planned. An idea! Later a lone pilot crashes his plane and we cut to some red roses. The camera pans up and they are not on a coffin but we get the inference. TWO directorial ideas! In ONE film! You Americans are getting a bit ahead of yourselves, aren't you? But wait, the director wants us to know that the bad guy is a bit of a fibber. Cue lots of swift cuts of various close ups of his twitching face. Also, this is a cyber thriller which means machines, right? Lets have that Terminator music then, *bish-bob-bosh-bish-bob-bosh*. Guys, I knew you wouldn't let me down. I feel safe and secure again in the hands of mediocrity.

This is an episodic and occasionally engaging thriller with a curious heroine. I'm not sure she actually has a pulse. Anxiety seems to be an alien concept to her as she reacts to every situation with the deference of a twelve year old cat. You're an isolated nerd whose whisked away by a dashing Don Juan on a boat and he makes love to you. Ho-hum, no big deal. About as exciting and wonderous as the post arriving. Suddenly you find he has a silencer in his jacket. Nervous? Not a bit of it. You're only alone with a hitman in the middle of no where, don't be silly. Later on our heroine is in a car with one of the bad guys and finally tells him and the world that she's mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore. Well, not really MAD as such, that would mean getting excited. So she gives us the impression that she's only left her mascara behind kind of upset. Not even being an international fugitive un-settles our sterling gal. Seeing her face on an all points bulletin makes her take extra special precautions. Donning a disguise, like a wig or doing up her hair, perhaps? A hat or a scarf, maybe? At the very least dark glasses? No, our heroine has outsmarted police officers, professional hitmen and a ruthless and sinister cyber crime syndicate so what does she do? She goes out on the streets in broad daylight as herself. They'd never see that one coming. Will nothing phase our heroine? I guess the only chance of a genuine reaction of anxiety and deep distress from our intrepid geek would come only if the part of her mother had been given to actress Rita Tushingham.

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17 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Flimsy, far-fetched, but spunky and attractive

6/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
11 May 2002

Sandra Bullock is very appealing as an unloved independent systems analyst who unknowingly gets hold of a disk that could bring worldwide chaos; pretty soon, she's dodging bad guys, running from the cops and putting her allies in danger (including Dennis Miller, who is surprisingly good). Despite a penchant for filming mouths in close-up, Irwin Winkler has directed a very fast, fun technical-thriller in which charming Bullock is bounced from one nightmare to another. I loved the way she gets out of a building swarming with security: she dons a fireman's outfit and escapes, but then the bad guys see a nicely piled fireman's outfit (and helmet!) sitting on the sidewalk and yell, "She's getting away!" Just one example of how this movie is so completely brainless, but yet entertaining enough on a non-think level that you tell yourself not to notice. You'll hate yourself in the morning, though. **1/2 from ****

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