zaterdag 23 augustus 2008

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

In the 21st century, information is the ultimate commodity. The most valuable of information is transported in mnemonic implants in the heads of professional mnemonic couriers like Johnny (Keanu Reeves - Speed) who offer both security and confidentiality for the right price.

But Johnny has paid a heavy price of his own - He's dumped his own memories to make room for the programmes he smuggles. To buy them back he agrees to deliver priceless data, the most important data of the 21st century, data that has already set an army of professional killers on his trail. but the massive upload is too much for his brain and johnny must find the secret codes to download the information - or die.

The movie welcomes the viewer with the following scrolling message:
"The most valuable information must sometimes be entrusted to mnemonic couriers, elite agents, who smuggle data in WET-WIRED BRAIN IMPLANTS".

Thus already leaving the viewer with an impression that those people who have "wet-wired" brain implants have some kind of elevated status of speciality compared to those who don't.

Thematic PP elements:
  1. There's an all around police state "doom and gloom" kind of setting in a littery kind of environment. Throughout the entire duration of the movie the atmosphere is dark and dreary and moments with daylight are only experienced when the main character reminisces about times gone past, way gone past. This may familiarize the viewer with the depressing nature of the times that lay ahead of us.

  2. The moments of Johnny doing his downloading/uploading routine through his brain implant, are accompanied by flashy, colorful and cartoon-like computer generated images and graphics. This impresses the viewer with the obvious notion that brain implants are cool, trendy and flashy. There's also a sense or suggestion of excitement transmitted by the straining JM character to the viewer. The more excitement experienced by the JM character the more the viewer, typically craving for more excitement, will be attracted to its perceived cause, i.e. the brain chip.

    As an aside, this is also the reason why Hollywood tries to "up the sales" of violence by blending images of violence with that of sex, IMO.

Then there were a couple of interesting suggestive phrases uttered in the movie:
  1. At one time JM goes: "I want to get online, I need a computer". Since the sympathy of movie lies with JM this helps to communicate a sense of urgency for the viewer to do the same, and that is precisely what they want.
  2. There's a reference to a one Dr. Alcom, "All computer". Thus wedding the association of man and computer even more.

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