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If there was 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. Scratched 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 the moment when, in Nerve terminology, Venus goes from watcher to player and ends up meeting Ian. A young man who we learn is a third option and is doing his best to reach the finals. That is if an old rival Ty doesn’t knock him out of the top 2. Which for both, and eventually Venus too, is an essential position. For the game will let you fail and will let you bail, but there is one thing you must not do for Snitches Get Stitches.
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 reason Venus’ brother died. Much less 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 this. 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 blindfolded or hanging off a crane which sits upon a skyscraper. It is in moments like that when you can feel both the fear and adrenaline of the characters where this movie shines. For despite, to be honest, me 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 a 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.
To be fair, 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 the reason Ian is in is 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 circumstances.
Lastly, the whole dark net/ 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
When it comes to some of the character archetypes, I don’t know if I wish to roll my eyes at the idea of a boring girl with a promiscuous friend, with the added 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 for most films I feel like this would have been a low point.