I heard a lot of hype about Nerve being a well-timed movie for the augmented reality gaming that Pokémon Go has ushered into prime time. However, Nerve is not an augmented reality game nor is the movie focused on the “gaming” aspect but more on the voyeurism and device based living of current times. It’s a look at platforms such as Facebook LIVE and handheld device addiction through the lens of dare based game in which users are either players or watchers. Are you brave enough to play, or are you a voyeur, hiding behind anonymity to watch the players compete in ever increasing risky dares? That is one of the first questions that hits the audience, what type of person are you? Assuming the audience members are plugged in and hooked on watching friends and strangers alike live out their lives on a device is an assumption lurking in the background that may be lost on the audience. An assumption that shows the direction social media has taken society – to device based voyeurism. Why do I say all this? Small spoiler alert – the movie has a message to consider and as such tries to put a nice fancy bow on some issues that leaves this reviewer a bit unhappy with the ending. I’d rather leave some items open for interpretation rather than spell out the agenda in the last 10 minutes.
Nerve is a fun and enjoyable movie. You will inevitably join the adrenaline loaded ride with its characters through the fast paced actions of players as they compete to be the number one viewed and as such highest paid game player. There are not any big plot twists or reveals so the story is fairly straight forward. Are you a player or a watcher? The POV filming was done well, not your typical overly shaken camera to show action, but instead puts the audience member into the players shoes and the intensity of the moment. As such we are all watchers but get a feel for the players decisions too.
The game based technology presented in the film leaves some holes that may leave a few audience members scratching their heads at the end. The nice tidy bow is not put on how the game technology unfolds but on the decisions and
actions related to device use and voyeuristic desires. So in the end, you have a fun movie with good characters but a story that lacks meaningful depth and useful plot devices. Had the ending not been so forced by a social agenda, I would have walked out more satisfied with a sit back enjoy the ride type movie. And I did walk out smiling but in retrospect, there were certainly some better possibilities with taking this book to the big screen.
4 out of 7: This movie is gratuitous, pushing the PG13 rating with teen sexuality, nudity, and intense action sequences. A movie that attempts to take and show signs of the times, it pushes some boundaries.