24  JAN
"A gentle snow flake that falls nowhere" - Ancient Zen saying

Directed by  Gabriele Salvatores
Written by  Gabriele Salvatores
Starring:  Christopher Lambert (Jimi)
Diego Abatantuono (Solo)
Sergio Rubini (Joystick)
Stefania Rocca (Naima)
Emmanuelle Seigner (Lisa)
Runtime: 120 minutes
Snow falls incessantly from the sky. Jimi is alone. Lisa, his girlfriend left him a year before. Jimi is a successful videogame designer and works for Okosama Starr, a multinational leader in its field. His latest game, Nirvana, will hit the stores on Christmas day. But Jimi is unhappy, his life seems meaningless, his soul is ailing. And, though at first Jimi doesn't understand, his computer is also sick: a virus has attacked his program Nirvana and Solo, the video game's hero, has become consciously aware of being a virtual character in an imaginary world, doomed to repeat to eternity the same fabricated actions in what is only the appearance of real life.
This, naturally, is unbearable and Solo asks Jimi to release him from this nightmare and delete him. And maybe it's just what Jimi was waiting for, maybe destroying what you've created is the only possible act of true freedom... But it's easier said than done: a copy of the videogame is kept in Okosama Starr's data bank. Jimi has to hack into it and needs allies to do so. In the Arab district of the Agglomerate, called Marrakech, lives an hacker called Joystick who spends his time surfing in the net and hacking into data banks of multinationals.
Lisa had moved in with him when she'd left Jimi but she's gone to live somewhere in the Suburbs. Jimi begins his quest into the Suburbs in search of Lisa together with Joystick who's sold his corneas and now sees in black and white through two electronic prostheses, and Naima, a young woman hardware expert who's lost her memory and can only insert artificial memories in her head... - Taken from the Nirvana Official Site

I usually don't see any italian movie at the cinema but Nirvana seemed to be a high-quality movie so I decided to see it: good choice! Not only Nirvana shows a few nice special effects but the whole movie is incredibly well made, the story is interesting, the actors are good, the dialogues are sometimes entertaining (although usually vulgar) and sometimes profound.

Most of the ideas on which this movie is based are clearly taken from the cyberpunk literature, for example the idea of using a virus to break into a system (from Neuromancer) and also some minor detail, for example the pizza sent by Uncle Nicola, the chairman of Cosa Nostra, recalls too closely Uncle Enzo, the chairman of Cosa Nostra Pizza Delivery (from Snow Crash).

It is hard to believe that Nirvana manages to put together a story that recalls "Neuromancer" with an atmosphere that recalls Blade Runner with some typical (comical) italian actors and speech and the result is absolutely great! In fact it doesn't look like a simple imitation but it actually beautifully mixes together these genres producing a very complete and 'different' movie.

The way Nirvana is organised is also very good, past and present, reality and fiction, flashbacks from the past and from the future, everything is perfectly amalgamated.

The ending is particularly well chosen, it could have been easy to ruin the whole movie with a happy final scene. Instead, both the 'story inside the game' and to 'real story' ends in a rather sad but not completely negative way.

Rating: 8.8  *****

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999