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'Nerve' is Consistently Entertaining

Nerve is a consistently entertaining thriller and a typical example of some of the dominant trends of current movie making.

For one thing, it is designed in the form of a series of relatively independent episodes linked by a minimum of sequences involving plot and characterization. The episodes do not illustrate any particular development of the story and could just about as well be presented in another order; I think they are supposed to be increasingly serious, starting with the simply embarrassing and step-by-step, morphing into the life-threatening. The best but in the movie, which involves a blindfolded motorcyclist roaring sixty miles per hour down a busy downtown street, comes much too early for that. The second-best bit, with a girl crossing from one high rise to another on a horizontally laid ladder between the windows, is more effective than anything that follows it. I won't say anything more about the ending than that.

All this is in service to an interactive video game that may actually exist, or almost, and the characters are the kind of bored movie teenagers who might try such idiocies just to relieve the boredom of life. Nerve starts out as a quite enjoyable don't-try-this-at-home comedy before it tries to turn serious, and never bothers about credibility or making the video game particularly clear. Don't try to figure out how it all works or how much is video screen or how many people must be in on what's going on, or how much may be fantasy in somebody's mind, and you might enjoy the outlandish camera angles and the splashes of video numbers and diagrams that superimpose themselves on the screen. Just turn off your brain and let the images wash over you, and you should have a relaxing good time.