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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.

Director:

David Cronenberg
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3,508 ( 320)
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

Taglines:

Play Or Be Played. See more »


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

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 movie required re-shooting, the schedule required for it interfered with this one. Leigh chose to stay on this movie, and her role in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) 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.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
A Shaggy Dog Story...but a good one
19 November 2006 | by hengirSee all my reviews

"We're both stumbling around together in this unformed world, whose rules and objectives are largely unknown, seemingly indecipherable or even possibly nonexistent, always on the verge of being killed by forces that we don't understand." So says Ted Pikul in the film. Which for some people sums up life and 'eXistenZ' probably is a film about existence. What is real and what is unreal and how you tell the difference. Or not. The last line of the film is superbly ambiguous.

The film seems like a shaggy dog story (indeed it has a real shaggy dog in it) but it takes you along on an interesting ride, full of provocative Cronenberg touches that will make you look at amphibians, game pods, fish, spines and bones in a new light. Some bits are quite icky. It takes place in a rural setting where the gas station is called 'GAS STATION' and a Chinese restaurant is called 'CHINESE RESTAURANT.'The film has an engrossing texture that is leagues away from your usual big budget science fiction movie.You can read many things into the film and it repays watching more than once.

The main actors are Jude Law who is OK and Jennifer Jason Leigh who is great. Some roles don't suit this very talented actor but when she has a good role like this she is unmatchable. Her unconventional beauty and fascinating voice suits the part of Allegra. (Looks great in a short black skirt too.) There are other familiar actors but they are not given much to do. It looks good, sounds good and a Howard Shore score complements the film very well. Cronenberg is possibly the Alfred Hitchcock of the sci-fi/horror genre. No matter what film he makes he is always worth watching.


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