Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s film, Gamer, is saturated with extreme depictions of violence and hypersexual individuals. Yet, there is more to the film than “T & A” and “what ifs”. The images of breast, blood, and attractive characters mixed with a substantial amount of ambiguity adds to the movie’s form. As a result of this, the film can better relate to the audience, especially those who call themselves “Gamers”. While Gamer proposes a concept about a society ruled by videogames, a focused should be placed on Neveldine and Taylor’s structure of the film.
An interesting aspect of this film is the lack of character development. Each character is simple. Kable, is a “good” convict, who I fighting for his freedom and family. Castle is presented to us as the typical bad guy who wants to have all the power in the world. Simon is the stereotypical teenager whose interest is primarily sex and videogames. Then we have the Humanz, who stand as the rebellion. And last, but not least, we have Terry Crews starring as “crazy guy” Hackman. Even at the larger level there is simplicity, you are a gamer, a character/pawn, or an outsider.
There is no complexity in the characters, and honestly, there is no need for it. Neveldine and Taylor could have easily built on every character but decide that it was unnecessary.
The best way I can answer this question is by providing an example.
Look at our blog site. Everybody is using a username instead of his or her actual name (excluding Dr. Fest and Steph Roman). Just like the real videogame culture, each person is known by his or her handle/username/gamertag. How are we to know that “BigDaddy69” is Jim from work or that “iloveunicorns” is Megan from class? Similar to the choppy camera shots, I believe Neveldine and Taylor used simplicity and ambiguity to support the authenticity of the film. As gamers, do we not hide behind computer screens and goes by our usernames? Do we not like to create characters that are different from whom we actually are? I know I do and I can’t be the only one.
It is also through Neveline and Taylor’s structure of Gamer that cements Kable and the other characters/pawns as a standing reserve. In “The Question Concerning Technology”, Heidegger warns us about the dangers modern technology brings when we allow it to dominate our life. He understands that new technology is not helping us discover our true essence. Rather, he states that modern technology is making humans a “standing reserve”. Recall the moment when the two girls want to buy Kable from Simon. At this moment Kable is not seen as a person, but as an object or a tool to be used by others. This encounter illustrates that in this society, it’s not who you are, but whom you play as? You can be a successful millionaire but if you are terrible at games, you won’t be regarded highly. This society idolizes gamers like we do celebrities. In some aspects, we want to have the same fame or wealth of celebrities. But we can’t. To compensate, we might try to resemble them. Why else would we take so much interest in what they wear or endorse?
This society is no exception.
This is the reason why the two girls offer to buy Kable from Simon. They want the same recognition that he has and the only way to do it is by obtaining Kable or other famous characters. This process results in game characters’ human essence being stripped away. No longer are they human beings instead they are property. They are nothing more than trading cards (Pokémon cards if I had to guess); collected and stored by one competitor to win a battle against another competitor.
Neveldine and Taylor’s decision to flood Gamer with simplicity, ambiguity, extremes, and choppy camera shots were all part of an overall mission to add authenticity an impactful message to the film. While they could have easily created a cliché narrative gamer film where there is a hero fighting for righteousness, they took a different route. The route where the form and message of Gamer were essential to make this film connect with the audience.