Powerful corporations, concrete jungles, global conspiracies, implants implanted in the body, hacker groups, virtual reality, the dominance of technology and total pessimism – cyberpunk, as an independent genre, has long settled in cinema, declaring itself from time to time. Rumors that he has died are heard from the digital space, and believing them or not is already a personal matter for everyone.
But today we will leave alone the well-known films – Blade Runner, Johnny Mnemonic, The Matrix, Nirvana, Minority Report, Robocop, Tron. A lot has already been heard about them, written, said – let’s try not to repeat ourselves.
Everything that happens next is an absolutely subjective list, just a set of films in which you can catch the feeling of an unfulfilled time, the crackle of electric discharges in the air, the buzz of billions of computers, the noise of crowded highways. Where the night is never dark, because here the lights of the cities stretching into the sky always shine brighter than any sun.
“Coder” (Cypher), 2002
Morgan Sullivan is a typical middle-class man, perhaps for the first time in his life, agrees to an adventure and begins to engage in industrial espionage for DigiCorp. Ignoring headaches and strange visions, he secretly records important information while attending various conferences across the country. But one day, having met the mysterious girl Rita, his usual picture of the world flies to hell – it turns out that the reality around is not as simple as it seems at first glance.
An ideal thriller about industrial espionage – this is how I want to describe the second film in the career of talented director Vincenzo Natali (Cube, The Void). His style was begging for cyberpunk – already in the debut “Cube” one could trace the manifestation of this cold and aloof tone, so characteristic of Canadian filmmakers.
The sterile, emasculated world of “Coder”, consisting of offices, meetings, boring people in suits, constant flights and an annoying wife for Sullivan, obviously tired of ordinary life, turns into a spy thriller – now he is a secret agent fighting on the field of an invisible war with transmitter pen.
Appearing out of nowhere, femme fatale Lucy Liu is here like Morpheus from The Matrix – instead of pills, she offers an injection, after which Morgan’s life will never be the same. There will be no blue and red pills: instead, there are plot twists at every turn, and the hero will change his name several times throughout the film. A mini-helicopter, a secret underground base and mind control – Natalie manages, in the almost complete absence of action, to build a fascinating story on dialogue alone.
Large corporations are fighting each other for information, recruiting spies, and between them is the humble Sullivan, who is no longer Sullivan, but Jack Thorsby, who is no longer Jack Thorsby, but … However, it is better to look further than to read.
“Coder” perfectly captures the essence of corporate battles: here secret agents do not carry weapons, and most importantly – to convince the authorities that you can be completely trusted.
In the finale, the director gracefully closes all the storylines, first dumbfounds, and then finishes off, finally demonstrating that he is hiding in the local equivalent of Marsala’s Wallace’s suitcase, after which one wants to sincerely and admiringly exclaim: “My God, well, for the sake of this, of course, it was all worth it start up!”
“A Few Seconds” (Split Second), 1992
In 2008, London almost flooded – after an environmental disaster, hordes of rats are on the streets, and a cruel killer, devouring the hearts of his victims, is again taken to hunting. Detective Harley Stone (Rutgers Hauer) is on the trail of a maniac, along with an unlucky partner Dick, trying to avenge the death of a former colleague.
Here, Rutgers Hauer no longer cries in the rain, but wears a raincoat, gloves, stirs coffee with a ballpoint pen, smokes a lot and eats chocolates, and in the background – futuristic London, tormented by endless rains, is drowning in corpses and brutal murders.
The night streets of the European capital flooded with water, along which police jeeps cut through, crash into memory along with the damp air of a literally rotting metropolis and the approaching, this time, it seems, really the last days.
This film fits perfectly into the pool of fantasy action films of the 90s, when post-apocalypse, dystopia, cyberpunk and hard action became one whole – Cyborg (1989), Nemesis (1992) and The Destroyer (1993) can also be attributed there.
“Seconds” highlights several things – the already mentioned Rutgers Hauer, whose brutality holds the whole picture, the fog-soaked atmosphere of the flooded city, and the mysterious killer, with whom there is a very good twist at the end.
Well, and also – six-barreled shotguns, a lot of blood, occult symbols and dialogues, like this:
At some point, the characters will be looking for big guns to defeat evil, and the viewer will wonder what he is really watching: a police detective, an unsuccessful attempt to create a darker Blade Runner clone, or a mystical thriller about the struggle between good and evil. evil. There is no answer: the annoyed phrase “Dick – shut up!” rushes from the screen, as if addressed to us, and we look at the final credits with quiet joy that 2008 in our reality was still a little different.
“Alphaville” (Alphaville), 1965
Detective Lemmy Koshen arrives from Earth in Alphaville – a totalitarian city of the future, located on a distant planet, controlled by the artificial intelligence Alpha-60, invented by Professor von Braun. Lemmy must understand what happened to the previous agent and deal with the dangerous scientist on his own.
Of course, Jean-Luc Godard cannot just take and shoot the usual futuristic dystopia – even when doing genre films, he manages to make it like no other.
In the role of the city of the future – Paris at night in the 60s, amazingly filmed by Godard’s regular cameraman Raoul Coutard, responsible for “Contempt”, “Breathless” and “Mad Pierrot”. Glowing storefronts, streams of cars, gray office interiors and illuminated streets – it’s probably not without reason that a mechanical metropolis from another planet turns out to be so close to our reality.