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eXistenZ (1999)

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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.

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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Allegra Geller
... Ted Pikul
... Kiri Vinokur
... Gas
... Yevgeny Nourish
... Hugo Carlaw
... Seminar Leader
... Merle
... D'Arcy Nader
... Chinese Waiter
... Noel Dichter
... Male Assistant
... Female Assistant
James Kirchner ... Landry
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

Taglines:

Into your body, under your skin, beyond your senses See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Existenz  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Jason Leigh had already finished shooting her role in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) when she took on this role. When her scenes in that film required re-shooting, the schedule required for it interfered with this one. Leigh chose to stay on this film and her role in Eyes Wide Shut was re-cast. See more »

Goofs

The first time we see Ted Pikul at the trout farm, he labels an envelope with the letters LA. The L is clearly connected to the A. However in the next shot with the envelope on the conveyor belt the L and A are no longer connected. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in Freak Out (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tame and repetitive Cronenberg
17 December 2001 | by See all my reviews

After his almost disastrous "Crash", Cronenberg returns to more familiar terrain with "eXistenZ". After "Videodrome" and "Naked Lunch", this is now his third movie featuring different levels of reality which gradually mix with each other until at the end, you don't know any more what reality is. Nowadays, you cannot say any more that this is a novel concept and, in addition, "eXistenZ" is much tamer, much more mainstream, and much weaker than "Naked Lunch" and, especially, Cronenberg's masterpiece "Videodrome". There simply isn't anything new which Cronenberg has to add to the subject.

Moreover, the fact that the movie deals with computer gaming is misleading. First, the subject was probably chosen to attract a new audience (which isn't familiar with his previous movies). Second, Cronenberg's visions aren't very much based on what modern computer gaming really is, except, maybe, for adventure games. In Cronenberg's movie, the computer game allows you to enter another reality which, however, looks very much like the reality you know, except that there seem to be other rules. Modern computer gaming, in turn, has already created a new reality which differs in its very characteristics from the world we know. This world is aggressive, fast paced, and the player as individual is reduced to its capability of reacting as fast as possible (this aspect is indeed captured much more appropriately in the - much weaker movie - "The Matrix"). Thus, Cronenberg's movie is more a surrealist dream than a serious discussion of the dangers of computer gaming. Of course, this is prefectly legal. The game console is a means of changing into another reality, just like the drugs were in "Naked Lunch" and video tapes were in "Videodrome". At other times, the console appears more like a sexual fetish.

"eXistenZ" has some interesting and remarkable scenes such as the whole part in the "Trout Farm" and the Chinese restaurant, but there are also involuntarily ridicolous scenes such as the character being stuck in a game loop. Overall, the images which Cronenberg chooses do not have the strength and impact of his older movies: The central element, the organic console, just looks like what it is: a piece of rubber. It is directly hooked up to the spinal chord, an unpleasant idea, but how much more impressive was the scene when James Woods inserted the video tape into his own stomach in "Videodrome".

All in all, "eXistenZ" is another trip into the weird world of David Cronenberg but into the more civilized regions which doesn't give you many surprises.


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