Trieste 2016 Review: VIRTUAL REVOLUTION
As video games become more cinematic in their audio-visual aesthetic, so films are looking to video games for inspiration. But though there can be some crossover, these are still two different mediums that require different approaches to storytelling. Guy-Roger Duvert's film Virtual Revolution explores both VR gaming at its extreme, and the world it creates. At the same time, it attempts to recreate the video game aesthetic in cinema. Unfortunately, while at times the film is entertaining, this attempt to bring video game style and narrative to film doesn't work.
In 2047, most of the world's populace is permanently connected to a gaming network, with multiple universes and role playing games in which to exist. Nash (Mike Dopud) works for one of the larger gaming companies to root out a terrorist network that is infecting and killing gamers. In his investigation, he discovers that these terrorists have ulterior motives for changing the gaming world, and might not, as he had been told, be responsible for the death of his wife.
The story itself is not necessarily anything surprising; fears of people being too connected to what's online and increasingly disconnected from reality, is not new nor limited to the movies. And Virtual Revolution is not attempting to tread any new ground with this theme, except to show what might happen if taken to the extreme. With a production design that emulates Blade Runner and The Matrix, the film certainly looks good. But the problems lies in trying to put a video-game-style story and video-game-style characters in film.
About half of the film is comprised of action sequences that seek to emulate video game action; which is fine, if you're playing one. But just watching it, isn't so much fun. Duvert is also at points attempting to poke gentle fun at some of the common tropes or actions of gamers (guys indulging in preposterous sexual fantasies for example), but these are a little too few and far between. Likewise with the characters; it may be that online game characters can become more fleshed-out if one plays them for long enough, but the stiff nature and stereotype of the characters in this film, again, lead to it being rather dull.
If one or the other of these two sides of the film had been better, it might have been more enjoyable. There are some moments that are fine, and I don't think Virtual Revolution was aiming to have any great subtext or indecipherable message. But certain video game techniques just don't work for the cinema.