'Gamer' is An Action Film With A Message

Category: Gamer Reviews | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: September 9, 2009 | Publication: Tiger Weekly | Author: Jonathon Specht
Publication/Article Link:Tiger Weekly

Rating: A-

Set a decade or so in the future, "Gamer" depicts a world in which current trends in video gaming, reality TV, Internet pornography and our obsession with the lives of celebrities are taken to their logical conclusion. Billionaire Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) is the mastermind behind two wildly popular phenomena.

"Society combines reality TV and the Sims: people volunteer to live in a world in which their every action is determined (through mind control technology) by outsiders via computer. "Slayers" is a "game," broadcast on pay-per-view, in which death row inmates battle each other to the death for their freedom. The catch is that they, like the actors in "Society," are directed via the same technology by video gamers.

"Slayers" is an extremely popular phenomenon, watched by millions around the world. It has helped to make Castle the richest man in the world, and it was set up with the full cooperation of the US government, which was desperate to fund its bankrupt prison system.

Like Maximus in "Gladiator," a prisoner named Kable (Gerard Butler) gains widespread fame as he fights for his freedom. While Kable puts his life on the line, it is his controller, a 17-year-old gamer named Simon (Logan Lerman), who gets the financial reward for his celebrity. As Kable prepares for his final battle, a rogue anti-Castle group called, appropriately enough, the "Humanz," attempts to rescue Kable and shut down both "Society" and "Slayers."

Gerard Butler gives an excellent performance as Kable. As my friend said after the film, Butler may be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. This film, however, is no mere sci-fi thriller. It is that, but it's also a biting social commentary, like the movie "Gattaca," or the novel, "Brave New World." In depicting a dark, but chillingly believable, future, the film criticizes the present. The central theme is vaguely libertarian, but it can also be appreciated by social conservatives and liberal human rights advocates.

"Gamer" is a suberb movie, aside from two significant flaws. The cinematography tries too hard to be artistic, and sometimes gets in the way of telling the story. Also, the film's ending is both predictable and ridiculous, and doesn't fully do justice to an otherwise strong plot.

Overall, however, this is a smart film, with solid action, excellent cinematography, and a commendable performance by the lead actor. While "Gamer" obviously isn't for everyone, I do recommend it.