Saturday, 18 January 2014

Avalon (2001)

There have been several films where characters develop/play virtual reality games, only to begin to question the reality of their own lives, or indeed the definition of 'reality' to begin with. Japanese/Polish co-production Avalon is one such film. It's also frankly not one I enjoyed very much.

Main character Ash is one of the top players of illegal VR game 'Avalon'. Unusually, she plays solo, rather than in a team. She was in a team in the past, but the group disbanded for not terribly clear reasons that are never actually resolved (several different explanations are given). Ash hears rumours of a 'secret' level to Avalon, beyond the 'Class A' level she is already on, and attempts to find out how to get to it. She's aided ... for certain definitions of the term ... in this by former team-mate 'Sunder', and a mysterious stranger.

The film's title, and a lot of the dialogue, references Arthurian legend, but the connection to the actual plot seems pretty arbitrary and tenuous. A lot of the film seems pretty arbitrary and tenuous, though. Considerable time is spent on a scene where Ash cooks dinner for her dog, only to discover that the animal is missing ... if indeed it ever existed. We have a scene where Ash buys books of Arthurian legend, and a later shot that shows the pages of at least one of the books are all blank. What does this mean, and why should we care? The script doesn't seem to have answers for either of these questions.

This is a visually stylish, but ultimately boring movie. Not recommended.

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