This cleverly scripted, multilayered cyber-thriller concerns an inventor of computer games whose latest creation develops a personality of its own. Clever plot twists (think BLADE RUNNER lite) are nearly sabotaged by Christopher Lambert's lifeless lead performance.
In 2005, computer-game designer Jimi Dini (Christopher Lambert) is ready to deliver his latest creation, "Nirvana," to the all-powerful Okosama Starr conglomerate. Despite being comfortable financially, Jimi is depressed from the loss of his wife, Lisa (Emmanuelle Seigner). He escapes his sadness
by playing his game, journeying into the virtual world of Nirvana's lead character, Solo (Diego Abatantuono). Jimi gets quite a surprise when the character begins questioning his commands, the result of a computer virus that has imparted self-awareness into the character. Soon, Solo pleads with
Jimi to be deleted from his cyber-world, as the recurring plot complications he's enduring get increasingly violent.
Having promised to delete Solo from Nirvana (and thus put him out of a miserable state) before the game hits the marketplace, Jimi needs to hack into Okosama Starr's databank, since they possess the original copy of the game. He visits the seedier outskirts of the city to get help from underground
liaisons Joystick (Sergio Rubini) and Naima (Stefania Rocca). While he's there, Jimi learns that Lisa's consciousness was downloaded onto a cerebral-implant chip before she died. After eluding Okosama's henchmen, Jimi invades their database, and is slowed by various defense system scenarios.
Pushing through these barriers, aided by Lisa's downloaded memory, Joystick and Naima are able to siphon off a secret slush fund, while Jimi cancels Solo and learns how much Lisa loved him.
Although the level of acting in NIRVANA is wildly uneven, director Gabriele Salvatores maintains an even pace throughout the proceedings. He and his coscripters (Pino Cacucci and Gloria Corica) effectively sketch an amusing vision of the future, liberally borrowing notions from the "cyber-punk"
school of literature (whose most notable member is novelist William Gibson). The labyrinthine story line often appears to be stretching the film's small budget to the snapping point.
Lambert is the film's central problem: even though the script gives him every opportunity to emote, he remains stiff, as if he's mistaken his character's melancholy for catatonia. Thankfully, the supporting actors who enact the roles of cyber-riffraff save the day, providing some genuinely
colorful characterizations. Ultimately, it becomes easier to forgive the film's deficits as one becomes drawn in by its intriguing background elements--from organ donors who sell off their body parts while they're still alive, to cerebrally-connected web-surfers who fry their brains online.
NIRVANA may not offer many fresh ideas, but it's still fitfully compelling, well-constructed fun. (Graphic violence, substance abuse, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: This cleverly scripted, multilayered cyber-thriller concerns an inventor of computer games whose latest creation develops a personality of its own. Clever plot twists (think BLADE RUNNER lite) are nearly sabotaged by Christopher Lambert's lifeless lead per… (more)