Visual design does not a movie make
1 July 2001
This is one hell of a piece of cinematic achievement if you watch it with the sound turned off. I'd recommend some Warren Zevon and Nine Inch Nails for aural texture.

The film LOOKS great from start to finish; very dark and dystopian, with high-tech present even in the garbarge and stunning wealth cheek-by-jowl with grinding poverty. Trouble is, that's already been done, and done better, in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, some thirteen years earlier.

Other than an attempted screenplay for the Aliens series of movies, William Gibson hasn't had other fruitful contact with "that bitch of a whore" called Hollywood (as Sir Laurence Olivier put it). His stories are rich in visual references, but the minimalist dialogue that drives them doesn't help much in translating the stories to the screen. "Johnny Mnemonic" could have been an exception if it had (a) stuck to the original story much more closely and (b) conceded the need to by a shorter movie in accordance with the story's limits rather than introduce subplots.
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