Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 36
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

(Photo by Saeed Adyani)

YOU WILL DO WHAT I SAY BECAUSE I CONTROL YOUR MIND!: Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall), is the master of the universe in this futuristic world because he has control of people who have had computer chips implanted in their brains and sells the right to manipulate these poor slaves via one of two computer games that he owns to people who can afford to purchase the rights to play the games from him.

Gamer: Sci-Fi Thriller Has Humans’ Minds Controlled in Games

Kam Williams

If the trans-human future predicted by visionary Ray Kurzweil in his best seller The Age of Spiritual Machines is accurate, then it is only a matter of time before a dystopia such as the one in Gamer will come to pass. Set in 2034, the chilling future is dominated by Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall), a diabolical billionaire with mind-control technology at his disposal.

The world has been divided into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” with the former group paying Castle for the privilege of controlling the behavior of the latter group in one of two virtual reality video games. The first is called Society, a perverse variation of Sim City where players get to direct human beings who have computer chips implanted in their brains and are living in a simulated community. Given the voyeuristic nature of the game, it is no surprise that the less fortunate participants find themselves forced to couple with complete strangers or to engage in bizarre sex acts.

The other interactive game is called Slayers in which convicted murderers are promised their freedom if they can survive 30 death matches in a row. In this game we are introduced to Kable (Gerard Butler) who has captured the imagination of millions of viewers because he has survived 27 matches thus far.

He owes his success in part to 17-year-old Simon (Logan Lerman) who controls Kable’s moves from an easy chair. However, Kable, who has been falsely convicted, is determined to regain control of his mind in order to clear his name, settle a score with Castle, and be reunited with his wife Angie (Amber Valletta) and their daughter Delia (Brighid Fleming). Of course this proves easier said than done, since his spouse is a sex slave in the Society game where she’s under the control of the eunuch (Ramsey Moore) who has purchased her services.

Fortunately, an underground resistance movement, led by the hacker Humanz Brother (Ludacris) attempts to shake people out of their complacency with tough love. Gamer is worthwhile thanks both to its thought provoking premise and the special effects exhibited in its fight sequences.

A cautionary tale with a dire warning about the possible future of humanity in a world where machines lead and people follow.

Very Good (3 stars). Rated R for nudity, sexuality, profanity and pervasive graphic violence. Running time: 95 minutes. Studio: Lionsgate Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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