Despite sporadic humor, eXistenZ can be sobering polemic. The director conducts a biopsy into the neuroanatomical location of identity and reality. He wants to examine how those constructs are chemically and electrically present in the brain. The experimental apparatus he uses to accomplish this is a fictional virtual reality game made from the nervous systems of mutated amphibians.
Given that all human reality consists of neural feedback and sensory data, reality is, in a way, virtual. All that humans perceive can be manipulated by illusion, social proof, outward compliance, impersonation, and other deceptions. There may be a discrete physical environment but interpretation of it is entirely subjective. How we react to it and those people present in it can be distorted by beliefs or state of mind, altered consciousness, or deliberate theater. So the movie can speak to themes of psychotrophic substance use, or the nature of the medium of film itself.
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Directed by Mary Cybulski and John Tintori
Copyright © Spine Film 2016
Image credit: File:Groen kikker dichtbij.jpg, public domain