(I wrote all this in a flurry of excitement. It is very lucid and disjointed, sort of on purpose)
I am 20 minutes into the movie “Gamer” – so far it is a really interesting critical look at video game avatar/online persona identity/body politics, authority/subversion, capitalism/ethics, voyeurism/reality/entertainment, freedom/confinement (on a multitude of levels – prison, media addictions as similarly represented systems of social control), a particularly jaded view of youth culture – with a slick cinematography style that seems to emphasize the critical look at the mediums that it is representing (fast, jagged cuts, pixel glare, hyper-stylization, falling in and out of focus, human hand stability). (I never thought I’d say all of this). As well as an implicate/explicate representation of social control through the frame of player control/identity re-creation and corporate (political, social, financial) mega-dominance. AS WELL AS the ways in which the digital, hyperreal actions affect our meat-space identities, reputations, lives.
30 minutes in, it is probably the best Media-as-Horror film I’ve ever seen, following the likes of Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity.
Not to mention rapper Ludacris as the Anonymous movement, the voice of authenticity.
And one of the best “Game Hacks” ever – getting drunk to just play freely and without limitations that the ludic experience forces on the player. Which is something I do on a regular basis.
I’ve been really interested in this movie since I learned that one of my favorite academic writers put together a very long essay on the film: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=830 – But, quite frankly, I just couldn’t bring myself to sit there and watch it. I had my own internal expectations, and they blocked me from clicking the button on my remote. Anyway, the summer is a good time to get over those sorts of things.
The late middle of the film gets a little weak, since it drops a lot of its style in an attempt to flesh out the narrative of the film. It is a little late at this point, and they were doing an okay job of it in the middle of all the crazy surface level stuff just before all this.
Holy shit – 1:15 in and there is a bonkers/beautiful dance scene. Which turns into a bonkers fight scene. As if there was much of a difference, right?
The music of the film is sort of perfectly/weridly balance between late 90’s one-hit wonders (Bloodhound Gang, Marylin Manson) and stuff like Cole Porter.
Anyway, it ends just about how you would expect it to.
For some reason, this movie only has 2 stars on Netflix. Perhaps people were expecting it to be just what it was in the trailers, a stupid action movie related to video games. But there is so much more than that going on. It is remarkably deep. Movingly so – I mean, I wrote all of this out of pure excitement over what I was witnessing, not just as eye candy, but in terms of content. This film deserves a lot more attention from scholars (film, culture, etc) and consumers – go see it.