July 29, 2016
"Nerve" is the name of an internet game where players are dared to do wild stunts for cash prizes and fame among the only Watchers. One day, mousy and nerdy girl Vee gets pressured by her friend Sydney to play the game. On her very first dare, Vee meets another player codenamed Ian. From this first dare, Vee and Ian would go all around New York City doing task after task as they escalate from plain crazy to dangerously deadly.
This film lets us enter an unseen world of the Millennials of this internet age. This world drawn here in "Nerve" is all so cool and colorful, but it may not necessarily be a pretty sight or a safe ride. We get drawn in and get mesmerized by this youth culture, probably in the way films like "Rebel Without a Cause," "St. Elmo's Fire" or "Fight Club" did in years past.
It is the charisma of the lead characters and the likeability of the actors who portray them which make this risky ride worthwhile.
Emma Roberts may be less memorable than her same-name contemporaries Watson and Stone. I only recall her seeing her once before playing Nancy Drew. As Vee, she really hits her stride when she is already playing the Game, looking mighty fine in that pricey green cocktail dress she wore for most of the film. I like her winning smile, her fresh innocence and girl-next-door vibe that would make you root for her to win it all.
As Ian, Dave Franco plays another fun, devil-may-care guy like what he played in "Now You See Me." He has a distinct charm from his more famous brother, James, and should have no trouble establishing himself on his own. He had great chemistry with Roberts in the dares they did together, especially in that wacky stunt in the swanky department store. It was clear to see why they attracted plenty of "fans" in the film.
I was really surprised when I recognized Juliette Lewis playing Vee's harassed mother Nancy. Time really flies. If this film was done back in the 90s I would not be surprised if quirky Lewis would be cast in it. She would most probably be perfect in the role of Sydney, Vee's insecure best friend played here by Emily Meade.
Of course, the technological advances in special visual effects that the industry uses these days make the impossible possible to happen onscreen in a more realistic manner. They can literally make characters ride a motorcycle down through NYC traffic blindfolded or hang by one hand from a crane atop a skyscraper, and make special effects make it appear that these can happen. In a film like this, we suspend our disbelief and breathlessly immerse in the fun and the danger vicariously.
I thought it would be very interesting for the older generation (Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers) to watch this and worry about what their kids could be up to these days. Like several films about the Internet, like "Disconnect" (MY REVIEW) or "Unfriended" (MY REVIEW), this is another cautionary tale about the risks that abound within the Net.The current craze "Pokemon Go" is already getting some youngsters into trouble and accidents. This technology we see in "Nerve" may not be as farfetched as you may think. 7/10.