In 1999, as the country was gearing up for the potential catastrophe of Y2K, Hollywood was spending its spring season in cyberspace with three months of high profile genre films set within some concept of virtual reality. This started with The Matrix in March, which gave way to eXistenZ in April, and ended with The Thirteenth Floor in May. All three films traffic in the paranoia that comes with technology, particularly that related to computers and how reliant we were becoming on them.
Tag: Keanu Reeves
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The road is both a refuge and a prison in My Own Private Idaho, the seminal 1991 drama by director Gus Van Sant. It stretches out, vast and infinite in its scope, clouded by the memory of the cars all whizzing past, of the turns not made but longed for, and the journeys not quite finished yet well remembered.
Teetering on the edges, the street hustlers of My Own Private Idaho seem inclined at first to see the road as a form of salvation. Here, the space they claim is their own, and it’s paved with opportunity, teeming with potential Johns. They’re all just one car ride away from the next great score or disaster. But who wants the real world when you’ve tasted this kind of freedom?
In director Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film, The Neon Demon, everything is as it seems. A highly stylized dive into the corrupt world of high fashion modeling, the film is a natural fit for symbolism. The lush visual imagery is the most important facet of the film, with the plot coming in a distant second. It is one of the beautiful films that emphasize form over function. That being said, the film’s deliberate and careful themes coexist with the visual storytelling rather than fighting against it. Certain themes in the film are direct reflections of the pretty images dancing on screen. Notably, the interconnection of two of these themes, innocence and superficiality, is one of the more pervasive voices throughout The Neon Demon.
My Own Private Idaho – 1991 – dir. Gus Van Sant
When this film was first recommended to me three years ago, all I knew was that it was a Gus Van Sant film about a group of gay street hustlers that starred River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. It piqued my interest, mostly because I’d never seen either actor in such a role before.