Friday, September 11, 2009

Thoughts about the newly released film "Gamer"

  • The one element of this film that anyone will remember a year from now is its "MacGyver moment". At one point in the film, the hero chugs a pint bottle of vodka. Ten minutes later, he vomits into the gas tank of an automobile, urinates into the same tank, and then hotwires the automobile and gets the engine to start. Is this at all possible?

  • Another important fact is that "Gamer" is essentially two films interwoven together. One film is about a man (nicknamed "Kable") whose brain has been turned into a cybernetic implant for controlling his actions, thus turning him into a remote-controlled warrior forced to fight for his life in a giant, live action, live ammo war game. From Kable's point of view, the film is a surreal meditation about the meaning of dominance and perversion in the twenty-first century.

    The second film is a ridiculously banal satire of America's toxic media culture. In this second film, technological geniuses are all "slackers" and all journalists are scum-sucking bottom feeders. Our two representative gamers are a seventeen-year old kid and a morbidly obese, perverted man who spends his time sucking down fists full of buttered waffles in front of the computer sceen (presumably in his mother's basement). This perverted guy is so disgusting that I had to cover my eyes when his scenes came on the screen.

    Why would the directors ruin a reasonably intelligent film by inserting a series of clich├ęs? The only answer I have is that the directors had no understanding of the real meaning of what they were putting onto the screen. They seemed to have believed that the plot of their film would utterly mystify the average member of their audience, thus requiring the directors to beat their audience over the head with the central plot points. That parts of the film are well done can only be considered a lucky accident.

  • I think it should be clear that "Gamer" is a casualty of the "Age of Lucas". The chanted mantra that every film critic hears from the public at large is that the proper enjoyment of action films requires the viewer to turn of his brain and just enjoy the visual spectacle. The problem is that large portions of this public are finding it difficult to turn their brains back on again when the films are over. The directors of "Gamer" knew this and adjusted their film accordingly.

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