Quick Hit: Incredibly visually appealing, the movie loses some of its build-up goodwill with a lame finale.
Nerve is a movie that stars Dave Franco and Emma Roberts and centers around an internet/social media game that involves a group of “Watchers” who dare and pay “Players” to perform various tasks. The more Watchers you have, the more popular you become, but it also means that the dares become that much more dangerous.
Emma Roberts plays Vee, a girl who for some reason has decided she doesn’t deserve the guy she has a crush on, and decides she doesn’t think she should go to the college that she wants to. Eventually to keep up with her friend/rival Sydney (Emily Meade), she begins to play the game. Along the way she has to kiss Ian (Franco), and the Watchers pair them together. So on and so forth, plot, plot, plot.
For me, the experience of watching Nerve was far more important than listening to the plot. That’s a bit odd for me, but I was blown away by the technicolor brightness of the world that directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman brought to the screen. It was different than what I’m used to seeing, and the flags throughout used to indicate the Players were a smart idea in order to broaden the world as well as place the characters. Along with that, a new gimmick that has been popping up lately with the phone screens and computer screens projecting on to the screen here seems like less of a gimmick. It actually seems vital to the success of the movie, and it feels very fresh.
Another bit that was surprising was Roberts acting (though when I looked up her IMDB history, I’m not sure why I was surprised – I forgot she was good in quite a few things). Whereas Franco plays essentially the same character he usually does – dopey, yet somehow smart and charming – Roberts plays someone a bit more vulnerable than she usually does. Whereas she eventually grows into the more typical Roberts character, full of confidence and charisma, Vee still projects an air about her of helplessness that is unexpected, and yet beautiful. It’s a much better performance than I expected, and leads forward to the positive grade.
But alas, the build-up of this eventually collapses on itself. We eventually get a Hunger Games style finale that is not just boring, but also a bit confusing. It’s tough to swallow, but hey, you can’t have everything.
I’m only giving the movie a “B-“, but that’s high praise for a movie that collapses so hard at the end of it.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"