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A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director:

David Cronenberg
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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Allegra Geller
Jude Law ... Ted Pikul
Ian Holm ... Kiri Vinokur
Willem Dafoe ... Gas
Don McKellar ... Yevgeny Nourish
Callum Keith Rennie ... Hugo Carlaw
Christopher Eccleston ... Seminar Leader
Sarah Polley ... Merle
Robert A. Silverman ... D'Arcy Nader
Oscar Hsu ... Chinese Waiter
Kris Lemche ... Noel Dichter
Vik Sahay ... Male Assistant
Kirsten Johnson ... Female Assistant
James Kirchner James Kirchner ... Landry
Balázs Koós Balázs Koós ... Male Volunteer
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Storyline

Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game's perspective. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sci-fi violence and gore, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Existenz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£362,864 (United Kingdom), 2 May 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$810,262, 25 April 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,840,417, 20 June 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the fact that this was filmed in the standard spherical format, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits. See more »

Goofs

When Pikul is extracting the tooth from Allegra's shoulder, the sleeve of her top is rolled down. In the next shot after it comes out, her shoulder is covered again, but Pikul's hand resting on it hasn't moved. (There are deliberate costume discontinuities in this movie, when the characters shift in and out of eXistenZ, but this isn't one of them.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Seminar Leader: eXistenZ. Written like this. One word. Small 'E', capital 'X', capital 'Z'. 'eXistenZ'. It's new, it's from Antenna Research, and it's here... right now.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Directors: The Films of David Cronenberg (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a wicked head trip
16 September 2005 | by richardgraham-4See all my reviews

Who should watch this film? Anyone who has ever taken acid, read Philip K. Dick, thought the premise of the Matrix was better then the special effects, has an interest in Philosophy, or likes having their sense of reality messed with. I laughed out loud at this film, just because it was so outrageous and so spot-on. This film is great. This film is cool. It is better than the Matrix, by a long shot (I didn't fall asleep in Existenz, for a kick off: action/special effects films bore me stupid, and despite a plausible philosophical gloss, that is exactly what the Matrix is). Existenz is gross, it is disturbing, and it is funny. David Cronenberg has done some shonky stuff (Rabid) and some works of genius too (Videodrome is another one worth checking out, as is Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone). But this is one of my all-time favourites. I can't remember the ending- which is a good thing, cos it means I can watch it again. Or perhaps I never watched this film at all. Maybe it's an implanted memory. Or maybe it 'really' happened to me. I don't know. At any rate, it is now seamlessly stitched into my overall illusion of reality, and I'm glad.


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