Cyberpunk

1990, NR, 60 min. Directed by Mariann Trench. Starring William Gibson, Timothy Leary, Vernon Reid, Jaron Lanier.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 8, 1994

Cyberjoke is a more apt title for this inane, dated, and ultimately boring exploration of the cyberpunk world. Director Trench seems to think cobbling together talking head interviews with such cyber-celebrities as William Gibson, Dr. Timothy Leary, Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid (!), and VPL founder Jaron Lanier and then layering them over a series of quotes from Gibson's Neuromancer and filling in the background with annoying computer animation makes for some sort of brilliant statement about the future. Not even. Instead, it makes you yawn a lot and check your watch every five minutes or so, puzzling over why you even bothered to log off the Net to come see this mess. Apart from rehashing the entire plot of Neuromancer, Trench lets the loquacious Gibson run off at the mouth for more time than necessary, as he drifts in and out of Bruce Sterling mode (oddly, the two authors' vocal inflections and mannerisms are nearly identical; make of that what you will) and offers up sound bites that anyone with even a passing interest in cyberpunk has heard a thousand times before. Vernon Reid is here for no apparent reason except to wax rhapsodic on the divine “neatness” of it all, and Timothy Leary is the same old slightly incomprehensible computer guru he's been for the last decade. If you think you're going to learn much of anything from Trench's documentary, think again. It's all style -- access TV-style, at that -- with precious little new to say. “Information wants to be free,” Gibson is fond of saying, but Cyberpunk, apparently, wants to be forgotten.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Cyberpunk
New in Print
Zero History
The onetime king of modern sci-fi is becoming less Ray Bradbury and more John le Carré

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 10, 2010

The Future’s So Dark I Gotta Wear Mirror-Shades
The Future’s So Dark I Gotta Wear Mirror-Shades
Cyberpunk

Marc Savlov, July 25, 2008

More by Marc Savlov
The Marksman
Liam Neeson is the action man again in this border thriller

Jan. 15, 2021

Beautiful Something Left Behind
The hard path to healing when kids suffer a death in the family

Jan. 8, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Cyberpunk, Mariann Trench, William Gibson, Timothy Leary, Vernon Reid, Jaron Lanier

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle