If there were ever a movie to make a case for virtual reality being part of your big-screen experience, this would be it. In fact, I would say this movie has the potential to be a sleeper hit if marketed right.
Violence Against Woman (One Scene of Venus Getting Punched) & Gun Shots
Characters Worth Noting
Venus (Emma Roberts) | Ian aka Sam (Dave Franco) | Sydney (Emily Meade) | Ty (Machine Gun Kelly)
Main Storyline (with Commentary)
Poor little Venus. The girl is so afraid of life, taking chances, and leaving her poor mom Nancy (Juliette Lewis), alone to deal with the empty room which belongs to her brother. Scratch that, belonged to her brother. Yet she can’t be like her best friend, Sydney. No, Sydney is too rash, doesn’t think, is far too uninhibited. But this isn’t just with her own life, mind you, she lacks any care when it comes to Venus’ as well. How else would you explain her outing Venus’ crush on football star J.P. (Brian ‘Sene’ Marc)?
Well, that is when, in Nerve terminology, Venus goes from watcher to player and ends up meeting Ian. Now, who is he? Well, originally just a random person part of the game, but he soon evolves to someone Venus often plays with and is considered a partner. Which, for Ian, helps him craft a path to making it into the finals and specifically one of the top two positions. However, with an old rival, Ty, threatening him and Venus moving up in rank and surviving, that, along with the challenges the game presents, many of which aren’t necessarily legal, push both Venus and Ian to the edge. Leaving them to decide whether or not they’ll continue the game, which is a dangerous decision for while you can bail at any time, you aren’t necessarily protected from the game master as you progress, and there are grave consequences for snitching.
Things To Note
Orange Is the New Black actresses Kimiko Glenn and the incomparable Samira Wiley are part of the cast. Glenn has a larger role than Wiley, though.
Questions Left Unanswered
We aren’t really told what the reason Venus’ brother died is. Also, we aren’t told why her mom is single and where the dad went.
Though saying “I was on the edge of my seat” is very cliché, it kind of holds true for Nerve. A part of me, while watching this, was imagining I was in a virtual reality headset looking down multiple stories, feeling the rush of going 65 on a highway blindfolded or hanging off a crane that sits upon a skyscraper. In moments like that, you can feel both the fear and adrenaline of the characters and when this movie shines. For despite not being the biggest fan of Roberts, even when it seemed her life was on the line, I was wide-eyed and wondering if she, among the other characters, may actually die during this game. I mean, despite her being the lead, I honestly believed this movie, to prove how dangerous the game is, might kill off the main character.
Also, I should note that Franco and Roberts have good chemistry. I mean, between the jokes between them, the way they kiss, the way they look at one another, you can only hope this won’t be their last time as a pair.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the soundtrack. It was trippy, modern, and really got you in the mood. Maybe not to the point of actually buying any of the songs, but definitely adding them to a Spotify playlist.
I can imagine an argument being the unrealistic nature of the game and perhaps even how far people would go. Venus, for one, goes from mousy to walking between buildings supported by a ladder. This leap in evolution may seem a bit too much to accept.
Also, it is noted that Ian is in because he broke the golden rule of Nerve, as did Ty. However, we don’t learn what happened to Ty’s friends and family after breaking the rule. We just are left assuming he dealt with similar consequences.
Lastly, the whole darknet/ hacking piece may or may not feel weak to some. It serves its purpose in establishing how Nerve exists, but whether or not you can be made to believe a game like that could exist in the modern world… well, it depends on how down in the toilet you think society has gone.
On The Fence
I don’t know if I wish to roll my eyes at the idea of a boring girl with a promiscuous friend, with the bonus of a guy who pines over the boring girl. Granted, the focus isn’t on Venus’ friends enough to really make this an issue, but I feel like for any other film, how dry and formulaic most of these characters are would be considered a low point.