RELEASED 2016 RUNTIME 96 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION HENRY JOOST, ARIEL SCHULMAN SCREENPLAY JESSICA SHARZER STARRING EMMA ROBERTS, DAVE FRANCO, JULIETTE LEWIS, EMILY MEADE, MILES HEIZER, KIMIKO GLENN, SAMIRA WILEY, COLSON BAKER MUSIC ROB SIMONSEN
Nerve is about a pair of teenagers played by Emma Roberts and Dave Franco who participate in a new internet game called Nerve based on the concept of Truth or Dare, minus the Truth part. It let’s you be a player or a watcher. When you are a watcher, you can pay to watch other people taking on dares suggested by the community that are becoming increasingly dangerous and extreme. If you are a player, just like our two main characters, you can earn money by completing these dares and become an Internet celebrity. But if you bail out, you loose everything and more… !
When I saw the trailer for this for the first time I was wasn’t very excited at all. It reminded me of a flashy coming of age movie celebrating the stupidity of the Internet with teenage actors that can’t act.
Let’s just say, I was very wrong.
The concept of the film is pretty fantastic actually. There has been so many stupid ideas and games floating around the teenage community in recent years (Sex Roulette is just one of them) that it wouldn’t surprise me if someone would set up such a game in the real world. After all, we already have Pokemon Go…
In the film idea/app is open source. So, the way they explain that the authorities can’t do anything about it actually makes sense. Also, what it does, it doesn’t present you a villain or main antagonist. In fact, there is no such thing in the movie at all, which is very interesting. It emphasizes the fact that you really play against the game itself which in turn is being kept alive by its watchers, who want to see people do stupid things. Quite frank, that’s how the Internet works, yo! The more stupid the content, the more people will watch it. It’s the truth. You know it and we are all gulty of it 😛
As for the film itself, I am very surprised to say that it’s pretty good! I would describe it as a coming of age thriller. Very original and creative.
It’s extremely well shot with quick cuts and witty graphics that effectively illustrate the social media aspects, with text messages and chat rooms being nicely integrated into the frame. I really had to laugh out loud a few times when I actually read the chat comments at the side of the screen. It really captures the stupidity of comment sections that you know from YouTube and various forums.
The cinematography is very flashy and neon-y. It takes place in downtown New York. However, I have never seen so much neon anywhere in New York City. The color palette has definitely been adjusted in post production, which is not a bad thing because it fits great. It looks very nice and gives it a certain character of a teenie film which contrasts nicely the seriousness of the movie itself. I really dig the visual style.
The script is tighter than a track shoe. The movie moves quick at all times. There is rarely room to breathe and if so, the incredible tension in these slower scenes showcasing the dares actually makes you hold on to your breath.
That’s one of the tropes I can give the film. It’s very suspenseful. Some of the dares make you sweat and hold on to your seat. It’s pretty great.
The most surprising thing about the movie, though, are the actors. First of all, Emma Roberts is a sweetheart. She is incredibly lovable and her acting actually was really good. I was paying close attention to her in a few scenes and she really made me believe in the crazy scenario.
Dave Franco is also good in the film, however, definitely not as good as Emma Roberts. But they both have great chemistry together and it’s fun to see their odd relationship develop over the curse of the night the movie is set in.
Another surprise for me is Colson Baker, who plays one of the rival players. He doesn’t have much dialogue, but pops in here and there. Nonetheless, his presence is felt throughout the film which is also due to his unique swagger. He doesn’t do much at the beginning, but becomes very important later on.
The biggest gripe I have with the film is the 3rd act. It gets a little out of hand and over the top. I wish they would have kept it a little more down to earth. It’s not a case of over the top action, but more of over the top plotting, if that makes any sense. In other words, the end feels a little too much. I can’t talk about it without spoiling. The only thing I can say is that there is no way a community of dumb teenagers are able to pull that particular thing off the way they do in the film. And with that I mean not the good guys.
On the other hand, why not?! For some reason, when I imagine the movie as a graphic novel, suddenly I’m totally fine with the end. Why is that?! Mhhh… I don’t know. That’s a discussion for another time.
Overall this film is a hell of a surprise. I wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have even watched it in the first place, if it wasn’t part of a sneak preview (basically you pay half the price for a movie ticket, but don’t know what movie for).
But I’m glad I saw it. It’s a flashy and suspensful coming of age thriller with a tight script, cool visual style and lovable characters. The concept is very original and creative, which is rare nowadays. If the end wasn’t so over the top it could have scored even higher.