Demonlover, 2002

The insidious consequences of technology are similarly explored in Olivier Assayas’ ambitious, savage, and thematically replete, but ultimately unfocused and tangentially occluded feature Demonlover. The initial premise of the film centers on the ruthless machinations of competing corporations as they respond to the delicate final negotiations over a partnership with a successful Japanese animé studio that is currently developing hyperrealistic 3D adult manga animation for the internet: code named “demonlover”. But in order to finalize the highly lucrative and symbiotic venture, the individual parties are compelled to address several commercially inconvenient and questionable internet ventures, including a possible association with a notorious, real-time snuff-broadcasting underground website ominously known as the Hell Fire Club. Unfortunately, despite Assayas’s admirable exploration of a difficult and complex subject on the blurred delineation between reality and fantasy, consumerism and exploitation, the film suffers from a meandering, preposterous, and schizophrenic plot that inevitably dilutes the film’s relevant, underlying themes of corporate greed, technological amorality, and voyeurism.

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