Thursday, November 24, 2011
This movie is the definition of a love it or hate it movie. There are so many scenes and themes in the movie that people will find controversial that there is only a small segment of people who really understand and enjoy it. I happened to be one of the group that thought it was an exceptional movie. David Cronenberg is a legendary and visionary director and this is one of his more recognizable features. James Woods is also able to carry most of the weight of the film on his back due to the fact that he is so believable in his role as a scummy CEO of a tiny cable company. This is a movie that at points you have no idea what is a hallucination and what is reality within the scope of the world the movie creates.
The movie tells the story of Max Renn, the CEO of a small cable TV station in Toronto. The channel mainly broadcasts soft core porn and overly violent programming. One day one of his technicians discovers and pirates a signal for a new show called "Videodrome" that broadcasts somewhere out of Malaysia. The show has no plot and basically consists of people being filmed while being tortured by masked men. Several days after watching the broadcast, Max starts to have these extremely vivid hallucinations and he starts to have trouble telling the difference between the hallucinations and reality. There is also vast conspiracy that weaves itself through the narrative that I will not describe because I want to keep this review mostly spoiler free. All I have to say about the end of the movie is "cancer gun", if you watch it then you'll know what I mean.
FROM THIS POINT ON THERE WILL TO SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS!!!!!
Throughout the course of the movie it becomes difficult for both the viewer and the main character to tell what is real and what is not. There is a blending between fact and fiction in the movie that makes the movie hard to follow at points but if you as the viewer pay close attention then the plot and the delusions of Max come together to make an amazing plot. Things as simple as him seeing his girlfriend, then him hitting her are seen to be a delusion when in reality his assistant came into his apartment and he didn't even move or hit her. Then as the movie progresses the hallucinations become more disturbing such as Max pulling a gun from his stomach and the gun burrowing itself into his hand so he cannot let go of it. This is all due to the tumor in his brain brought upon from watching the "Videodrome" broadcast which were in reality just taped specifically for him because he is being used as a test subject by a corporation to see if they can control people through TV broadcasts. His last hallucination basically shows him killing him self and then after witnessing his own death, he decides to take his life to be one with the "New Flesh". To tell you the truth, for me to explain all of the strange terms and the stories behind them. it would take me about 3000 words and video references. I'm sorry if I don't feel like doing that on Thanksgiving morning.
The most disturbing thing about the movie in my personal opinion are the visuals that come along with each of Max's hallucinations. The mere fact that his mind can make him believe that he is able to whip a flesh covered TV acting as his missing girlfriend and she is getting pleasure from it is a bit troubling. You really can't get a true sense of what I'm writing about unless you watch it because it is ten times more disturbing to see than to read. The "cancer gun" scene is also a little hard to watch because after being shot a man literally bursts into a mass of tumors and to say the least, it is a little graphic. This movie is more terrifying than a normal horror movie because this movie basically tells a story of brainwashing and how deep the brainwashing can affect the person it was done to. Also it is not out of the realm of possibility that companies/government have tried to do brainwashing to this effect in the past minus the whole tumor thing. This movie is a perfect example of why Cronenberg is a visionary storyteller, this movie may not be completely plausible but certain aspects of the movie are a real possibility or have already come true and this movie was made 25 years ago.
This is a true movie. What I mean by that is that is entertaining, has an awe inspiring story, and great acting. There are also layers of themes and symbolism in this movie that it almost demand to be viewed several times to get the whole story and picture. I have personally seen this movie 3 times and it has gotten better with each viewing because I have a greater understanding of the themes and symbols that run through the movie. This is not an uplifting movie in any way but it is a fantastic story that deserves a chance to be viewed and enjoyed. I know I have been giving out a lot of high grades on movies lately but that mainly has to do with the fact that I have not been watching a lot of disappointing movies that last few reviews. This movie easily deserves a 9/10. A great movie all around and the director also happens to be a personal favorite of mine. Give this movie a shot and you will be rewarded with a rich movie viewing experience.