Nirvana (1997)

R   |    |  Action, Drama, Sci-Fi


Nirvana (1997) Poster

The main character Solo in Nirvana, a computer game developed by Jimi for release in 3 days, has gained self-awareness after a virus attack. Solo wants to be deleted. Jimi wants to find his ex.


6.1/10
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15 February 2015 | rooprect
6
| Possibly a masterpiece, butchered for its American DVD release (Miramax)
I've been a fan of Gabrielle Salvatores' dreamy, surrealistic style ever since I saw the first 5 minutes of "Denti" (2000). Now there's a film for movie buffs to sink their teeth into, lame pun intended. I immediately went on the hunt and found his follow up films, "Io non ho paura" (2003) and "Quo Vadis Baby" (2005) which I also thoroughly enjoyed, and now I'm working my way backwards to his earlier films.

Then I saw "Nirvana" (1997) and it stopped me dead in my tracks. My first impression was that it's a really good story but the presentation fell short, felt incomplete and lacked authenticity. Then I found out that's because the Miramax (DVD) is a total hack job of the original film, with 20 minutes chopped off and distracting dubbing of all the actors' voices. In case you didn't already know, the original film is in Italian, and it was dubbed into English for this particular DVD.

The story itself is really interesting, and it's a cut above all the other cyberpunk movies that were churned out in the late 90s capitalizing on the burgeoning net culture. "Nirvana" is set in a dystopian future à la Bladerunner and follows 3 days in the life of a software programmer (Christopher Lambert) who is about to deliver his masterpiece virtual reality game called Nirvana. The problem: with only 3 days to go before it hits the market, the main character in the video game becomes self-aware and starts questioning the game he's in. The movie then splits into 2 concurrent timelines, one with Lambert trying to stop the game's release, and two with the video game character trying to understand his own existence.

With a good dose of action, lots of style and peppered with some good unexpected comedic moments, the film is entertaining. But (I'm assuming due to the Miramax hack job) it often feels rushed, disorienting or just plain nonsensical at times. If you watch the Miramax DVD (96 mins) be sure to take it with a grain of salt, or as I'm trying to do, hunt down the original 113 min Italian version which is generally loved by all who have seen it.

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