6.8/10
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535 user 190 critic

eXistenZ (1999)

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2:04 | Trailer
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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Popularity
4,375 ( 191)
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 »


Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1999 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

eXistenZ: Mundo virtual 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

The lubricant Allegra (Jennifer Jason Leigh) uses for Pikul's (Jude Law's) port is called XE-60, which is only one letter in the alphabet up from WD-40. 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

References Crash (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Smart sci fi and the full Cronenberg eXperienZ
18 June 2016 | by 5DogSee all my reviews

Allegra (JJ Leigh) is the world's most totes-amazeballs games designer. Her complex, better-than-life VR games have the masses hooked - so much so that someone out there wants her dead, and is prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege.

After a close-call assassination attempt, Allegra and PR Nerd Ted Pikul (Jude Law) go on the run - all the while attempting to 'port' back into Allegra's bio-creepy games console to test run her latest game - eXistenZ.

I saw 'eXisteZ' at the cinema when it was released at the end of the 90s. Apart from a plot-based running gag with a friend ever since, I don't think I've spent much timing thinking about it since. After catching it on TV recently, though, I'm inclined to think this is one of those movies you really ought to evaluate over multiple viewings.

The plot is brilliantly twisted. As Allegra and Ted port in and out of the game she's invented, it's hard for them - or us - to know what's real and what isn't. Playing the game along with them, and interacting with the characters, works exceptionally well considering some of these concepts are pretty far ahead of the movie's time. No spoiler here, but some of the plot concepts must have influenced some very big sci movies released since!

There's a lot of freaky bio-horror-erotica on screen. It's not an overly violent film (and I wouldn't call it a horror movie at all), but some of the scenes are very 'fleshy'. It's more like overt eroticism runs throughout - even Allegra's bio 'pod' (the games machine) looks and reacts like some feisty, fleshy erogenous zone.

The special effects aren't bad. Yes, some involving creatures are a bit Harryhausen, but others hold their own really well more than a decade later.

There's a message - and, again, it's ahead of its time and doesn't shy away from asking the big questions. But then, the movie's called 'existence', after all.

I've probably given this an extra star because I can't quite believe the lack of love here on IMDb. This is a good film that aims to do, say and stretch you more than most. That's gotta be worth a look.


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