One of the best Canadian films ever made, in my humble opinion, is David Cronenberg's eXistenZ. (Ok, this is the last Canadian theme blog for awhile; I promise.) While it doesn't quite make "the Matrix look like child's play", as the cover would have you believe; it is a well done, smart sci-fi movie.
"eXistenZ" (pronounced "ex-is-tenz"), is a new, virtual reality, bio-tech game console that the characters in the movie are the first to play. Playing involves plugging the console's tendril/cable into ones spinal cord--an act the main character isn't quite comfortable with. Speaking of which, there are lots of gross-out scenes in this film's fleshy, bio-tech version of the future.
The actor's performances are acceptable. The main stars are Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who give solid, if unmemorable performances. They do, however, rise to the challenges of this reality bending film.
eXistenZ focuses on the theme of "what is reality" that the Matrix series has now beat into the ground, but does it in a more relevant way than its blockbuster cousin. The Matrix movies look like a video game, but eXistenZ is a video game. And it's about a world where video games and virtual reality have almost completely blurred the line between fantasy and reality. Something that hits too close to home for anyone who has played role playing games for an extensive period of time.
My quibbles with eXistenZ are its early era computer graphics (although they are used artistically) and its monotonous use of gross out scenes. What I loved are the issues it addresses and the ending. I shall say no more regarding the ending, lest I spoil the twists and turns, except that it is not your standard Hollywood sunset stuff. (Which, of course, for me is a good thing.)
For any sci-fi lover, eXistenZ is a must see. For everyone else, see it when you're in the mood for a challenging film.