Troy Patterson
October 22, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

eXistenZ

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
Wide Release Date
04/23/99
performer
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Eccleston, Ian Holm, Sarah Polley
director
David Cronenberg
author
David Cronenberg
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a B

Less a virtual-reality thriller than a riff on the riddle of ”reality” itself, David Cronenberg’s latest is typically icky and unusually witty. Leigh is a VR game designer with a price on her head, and Law is a corporate dork she takes on as a bodyguard/playmate. The director’s obsession with tracing the labyrinths of consciousness comes at the expense of character development, but the psychological depths Cronenberg reaches are tingling to fathom.

Reel goodies

(0:20) Willem Dafoe turns up, sleek and freaky, as a grease monkey named Gas.

The last detail

Here, Cronenberg is working from his own original material for the first time since 1983’s Videodrome. B+

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