The plot: “In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a ‘doom’-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. Or won’t he?” – IMDB
My thoughts: Gamer is a prime example of an interesting idea that is poorly executed. Somewhere buried underneath the real life Modern Warfare and SIMS is some kind of social commentary that is really only half there.
Essentially, in 2020, people can control other people – voluntarily, of course (although “voluntarily” is used loosely. Some people feel that they don’t or truly don’t have any other options) through chemicals in the brain. So, it’s like super virtual reality because even though it isn’t happening to the user, it’s happening to whomever he/she is controlling. And it brings up all of this stuff about human desire and reality/fantasy and mind-control and so on and so forth. But all the movie ever really amounts to is a plot centered on a wronged man seeking justice and to regain his relationship with his family.
The acting was…all right. The best performance was (unsurprisingly) given by one Mr. Michael C. Hall as the psychotic creator of the games Society and Slayers. He’s creepy and highly excitable and seems extremely manic throughout which he does so well. It’s strange to like an actor so much and be terrified of them all the same. I offer you a perfect example of the craziness (it is spoilery, but it’s not really a good enough movie that it ruins the experience):
I about lost my mind at 2:17. Only Michael could pull that line off so well.
There are a lot of cameos in this movie that just tickled me. Maggie Lawson and James Roday (both of the USA show Psych and a couple in real life) act as news casters for a minute, Milo Ventimiglia plays a craaaaazy guy in Society and Zoe Bell and John Leguizamo star for a few minutes with Gerard in Slayers. So that I definitely enjoyed.
Ultimately, it just fell short. It was a really cool idea that honestly might not have done well with mainstream audiences so it had to go the route of an action movie rather than sci-fi social commentary. Worth a watch – even if just for Michael C. Hall and the weird guest spots. I’ll leave you with one more clip of Hall being awesome and to get more of a feel for the movie/plot.