Nerve would have been the perfect dissertation on post 2010 online culture, had it not felt so obliged to be morally correct.
High school senior Vee gets drawn into a popular online game called Nerve, after seeing her friend Sydney gets rich and popular from playing it. Under Nerve’s system, Vee has to record herself performing various dares issued, successful completion for which she would be rewarded financially. While struggling through her first dare, Vee meets Ian, another Nerve player, and goes on a heady adventure with him throughout NYC. As Vee’s popularity skyrockets, the darker side of Nerve begins to reveal itself. To begin with, Ian might not be who he says he is.
A while ago, I told my mum about the horrific fad of youngsters uploading videos of themselves snuffing animals. After the initial shock, she rationalised the crime, so to speak, and insisted these monsters must be doing it for money. To avoid arguing with her, I feigned agreement, but in my heart, I lamented how the real reason was more likely for momentary glory. While I had not the joy of experiencing such exaltation, I could easily imagine how intoxicating it could be. That incredible euphoria, when one seems, if only for seconds, unmatched in the eyes of the world.
Nerve feels to agree with my mum with its premise of young adults motivated by money to attempt daredevil stunts. What’s smart about the movie is how it then reveals that money is but the façade, the real culprits here being fame and indulgence. Overall, the story is deftly presented, with other Internet myths woven in, and with some of the attempted stunts truly unnerving to watch. Unfortunately, this gritty narration is ultimately dragged down by a cringe-worthy, “social responsibility” sermon during the climax. I take it the producers were obliged to do in order to avoid controversy. But still, for a movie to adopt such harsh opinions about Internet culture, then hide under the greater misconception that things could end ******** **** *****, doesn’t that just compromise the impact of the overall message? An unapologetic ending would have seriously made for a far more effective ending.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews!