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Existenz (1999)

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm

The year 1999 was an exceptional one for challenging and unique science fiction cinema. On the blockbuster front, there was The Matrix, a heady blend of action and otherworldly intrigue that, with its glossiness and wide theatrical release, played well for mainstream audiences. On the other hand, folks looking for an even stranger and less zeitgeist-tapping dose of complicated sci-fi were treated to the celluloid puzzle eXistenz.

Fourteen years later, we've grown a closer fondness to the latter, namely because of the man who wrote and directed the picture: David Cronenberg, who's ability to combine his love of body horror and cerebral sci-fi in eXistenz sets it apart. The plot isn't the easiest to describe, but let's give it a shot: A video game designer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and one of her trainees (Jude Law) weave in and out of virtual realities while assassins track them down.

There's much more to it than that, of course, but the bizarreness of Cronenberg's last shot of Videodrome-like weirdness is best left experienced for one's self, spoiler free.

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