The Null Device


Tonight I saw Demonlover, a French film, starring Connie Nielsen and Chloe Sevigny and featuring a soundtrack by Sonic Youth, and found it disappointing. It is ostensibly a noir thriller about companies battling for control of the Internet porn industry; a formula which could lend itself to a strong film, though which was let down by this particular treatment, namely, the incoherency of the plot. I came away with the feeling that the filmmakers tried to cram so much in (hentai anime, illegal torture porn sites, blackmail, Tarantinoesque gunplay, car chases, not to mention pointless erotic trysts between characters that, were they in an American film, would have been made with has-been actors for the direct-to-video market) that they ended up literally losing the plot, coming out with a sequence of events happening with little in the way of causation. The final scene (in which a generic American teenager does his homework while his computer screen shows images of a woman about to be tortured for his entertainment far away) was a nice touch, though it was robbed of its power by the lack of coherency preceding it. Besides which, Cronenberg did the whole torture-for-gratification angle much better 20 years earlier with Videodrome.

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