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Friday, December 16, 2016

'Virtual Revolution' Theatrical Taking Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out to An Extreme

The new self-described "cyberpunk scifi tech noir" drama "virtual revolution," which opens at the Arena Las Palmas Theater in Los Angeles on December 16 2016 ahead of a wider release, fills the void for a socially relevant holiday dystopian film that "Rogue One" does not quite fill. This gritty always drizzly Neo Paris of 2047 in which "Virtual" occurs further helps fanboys (and girls) achieve the proper frame-of-mind for the upcoming "Blade Runner" sequel.

The ASTONISHING 39 festival wins for this English-language French import include the Feature Film Award at the 2016 Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival and the Best Science Fiction Feature at the 2016 Super Geek Film Festival at Florida Supercon.

The Raymond Chandler quality opening narration explains that the premise around which writer/director Guy-Roger Duvert centers "virtual" is that the typical dismal series of events that precede films of this ilk is behind the adequately moral majority spending most of their time connected to sophisticated virtual reality systems. The complete immersion that this provides allows the "connected" to create an incredibly life-like avatar of themselves and escape into "verses" that range from medieval forests to purely fictional scifi existences. 

The clear class divide (and related ill will) that this new normal creates evokes strong feelings of the (Unreal TV reviewed) French television series "Trepalium." That world of the not-too-distant future is closer to our reality than the creation of Duvert but literally builds a heavily fortified wall between the haves and the have-nots.

The aforementioned grittiness, mass manipulation of the populace through the media, and the equally corrupt corporations and law enforcement agencies will prompt the same '80s scifi fans who get images of "Blade Runner" in their heads to think of the early AI world of the "Max Headroom" film and television series.

"virtual" star Mike Dopud clearly channels Harrison Ford in portraying "hero" Nash, a gruff and brutal bounty hunter. His fairly literal corporate overlords put this gun for hire on the case following a series of deaths of "innocents" while in their verses. The backstory is that a group of terrorists are doing so in response to their objection to folks taking extended vacations from reality.

A related side story is that much of the torture of the soul of Nash relates to the death of his soulmate; this loss also provides the pretext for the character of her brother, who is a quirky loner hacker whom Nash uses as his one-man IT crowd.

Nash soon getting in the mind of an early person of interest provides some of the best humor in the film and allows for what potentially is the most effective means of going undercover ever. That not working so well in this case leads to the several twists that amp up the drama and give the audience plenty about which to ponder.

In classic noir style, Nash does not know whom to trust. The five elements of this include each faction with a horse in the race telling at least a portion of the truth. Nash further begins to either see or be blinded by the light regarding the desirability of the "connected" abandoning the real world.

The climax does not disappoint regarding either intensity or message. Whether you cheer or are distressed depends on whether you are in or you are out.

Seeing this one on the big screen is important both to get better immersed in the fascinating multiple verses that Duvert creates and to extend a strong and proud middle finger to the "suits" behind all of us retreating into our own worlds to consume media on tiny screens. The media truly is the message this time.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "virtual" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.