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With: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller
Written by: John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris
Directed by: Irwin Winkler
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and brief strong language
Running Time: 114
Date: 07/28/1995

The Net (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Net' Mirth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Someday the next generation of film buffs will rent some of today's mega-buck blockbuster summer movies and watch them as B-movie camp. We still remember the picket lines protesting the opening of Basic Instinct, but what if twenty years from now, it becomes appreciated for what B-movie thrills it does deliver?

The Net is a movie like that. It can't possibly have any cinematic worth as it stands now, but it may be someone's discovered video gem in the future, in the way that Superfly and The Mack have been rediscovered now. What's more, The Net's computer-paranoia crime theme may become a mini-genre in itself, along with Johnny Mneumonic and the upcoming Virtuosity. Sandra Bullock -- an upcoming starlet whom everyone has their eye on -- plays computer hacker Angela Bennett. Bennett stumbles upon a plot by a the makers of a "security" program that actually allows them to get into various computers, including the stock market, radar, hospitals, etc. These people hunt her down to find out what she knows. They should probably just try to kill her, but instead they try to trick her (and the audience), as well as erasing all of the information on her life. They take away her house, and give her a criminal record. So she has to find some proof of what they have done and get it to the right people. Anyway, there are enough holes in the plot to drive a 747 through, but The Net does deliver the goods.

The locales are especially well-chosen. We get to see Sandra in a bathing suit in Mexico, a chase at a carnival and on a catwalk, and a computer show in the Moscone center.

Director Irwin Winkler started out as Martin Scorsese's producer, so it's conceivable that he may have picked up a few things. You may or may not see them in The Net, but maybe you can check again in about twenty years.

DVD Details: A seriously guilty pleasure, mostly predicated on the fact that Sandra Bullock is just so adorable and charming -- she's so potent on screen that she could steal a scene from virtually any film actor today. Bullock plays a computer nerd who discovers some forbidden information on the Internet and finds herself the target of nefarious baddies (one played by Jeremy Northam). The technology angle is already hilariously dated and only adds to the fun. Columbia/TriStar's 2002 "Special Edition" ($24.95) disc comes with two commentary tracks, a boring one by director Irwin Winkler and producer Rob Cowan and a terrific one by screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris (The Game and Terminator III), plus two featurettes, trailers and filmographies.

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