Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Movies: Nemesis Game

STAR Movies showed Child's Play 2 (it's the only one in the series I haven't seen yet) at 11 PM tonight and I recorded it to watch later.  But then when I was about to sit down and watch that, I saw that the next movie on the channel was Nemesis Game.  I was under the impression that it was one of the Nemesis movies of director Albert Pyun, but as it turned out it was something different.

The movie has an interesting concept — the Nemesis Game of the title involves the quest for the meaning of life.  It's somewhat similar to the concept of Pi, where the protagonist is searching for an explanation to reality itself.  The game in this case involves riddles.  These riddles are found in subway stations and other gloomy places, spraypainted on walls.  The player answers these riddles one after another, and upon solving the final riddle, the ultimate "Design" is revealed.

Sara Novak (Carly Pope) is a college student whose mother died in a car accident some time ago, and she is drawn into such a game.  Vern (Adrian Paul) is a video store owner who also gets involved in the game, and soon it becomes apparent that the answer is definitely not pleasant.  A parallel plot is that of Sara's father, a cop, who is investigating a woman named Emily Gray (Rena Owen) who has confessed to murder.  Emily is someone who is aware of the Design, and apparently that has something to do with whatever crimes she committed.

Now the movie certainly did a good job of building suspense and raising lots of intriguing questions — namely what is the Design, and what happens when one answers the final riddle, how is the Design related to what Emily Gray did, who is behind these riddles, and so on.  However, somewhere towards the end of the movie I started thinking "when are we going to get some explanations?"  Not too long after that the movie ended, and the problem is that no explanations whatsoever were offered!

I understand that a proper explanation can't be given — after all, the movie is about the meaning of life itself, something which I am sure even the director/writer Jesse Warn knows — but the movie ended very abruptly, and no resolution was given.  While an ambiguous ending, I realise, is probably the only way to go with such a story, I was atleast expecting answers to SOME of the questions that the movie raised.  Leaving that aside, I think the movie was pretty nicely made, it certainly kept my interest (unfortunately that made the ending feel all the more like a cheat) and had a nice creepy atmosphere.  I think it's worth a watch.


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