"Not on the head! Don't tell me you hit him on the head." (Ralfi to his bodyguard, after he has disabled Johnny Mnemonic)
"I had to dump a chunk of long-term memory... my childhood... Yeah, well, maybe I didn't lose anything I wanted to keep. I needed the space for the job." (Johnny, explaining how he prepared his brain to store the data he is carrying)
Variety - 05/22/1995
"...The computer special effects are slick and accomplished..."
Loosely based on a story by cyber-pioneer William Gibson, this futuristic thriller centers on a the title character (Keanu Reeves), a courier who loads vital data straight into his brain for storage and safe transport. Johnny has given up brainspace that his childhood memories occupied in order to save space for his chosen profession. He wants to pull one last job before he retires, and the one he gets is particularly perilous. He's got 48 hours to transport a large load of data from Beijing to Newark--and some futuristic samurai don't want him to make it to his destination! The directorial debut of conceptual artist Robert Longo is full of arresting visuals painting a bleak, yet eye-popping, vision of the future.
In the year 2021, huge conglomerates rule the world, and Johnny "Smith" represents a new kind of smuggler. This is because top secret information has been "wet-wired" into his brain so he can easily transport it from Asia to New Jersey. But Johnny must complete his mission quickly, because if he doesn't download the data in time, his cranium will explode! His task is further complicated by the fact that Yakuza gangsters want this information for their own, and are willing to cut off Johnny's head to obtain it. Can this cyber-courier survive all these hurdles and complete the mission -- saving his own life in the process'
Released theatrically in the USA on May 26, 1995. It grossed $19 million domestically.
This is the first feature-length film directed by New York artist Robert Longo. Speaking about his art, he has said, "My work exists somewhere between movies and monuments." Longo also directed a number of music videos and a short film.
Additional Credits: C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures (Data Upload Sequence); Charles Lewin Webb, Greg Zenon, Reid Dunlop, Leslie Grierson (assistant directors); Patty von Arx (music editor); Chris David (sound re-recording mixer). Cyberspace Sequence: George Merker (producer); Jamie Rama (co-designer/art director); Cat Chapman, Ryan Berg, Anthony Ceccomancini (co-ordinators); Bill Birrell (executive producer). Digital Dream Sequence: Braid Media Arts, Darrel Anderson, Rick Berry, Gene Bodio, Phil LeMarbre, Steve Bentley, Sheila Berry, Artie Romero, James Allen.
Songs: "Virus" by Sascha Konietzko, En Esch, Ounter Schulz, performed by KMFDM "Sad but True" by Phil Hartnoll, Paul Hartnoll, performed by Orbital "Complete" by Page Hamilton, Henry Bogdan, John Stanier, performed by Helmet "Nothing" by Christopher Hall, Stuart Zechman, performed by Stabbing Westward "I See Through" by Henry Rollins, Melvin Gibbs, Sim Cain, Chris Haskett, performed by Rollins Band "No More Love" by Jeff Turzo, David Reilly, performed by God Lives Underwater "3am Incident" by Tod Ashley, James Coleman, Christopher Nantz, Philip Puleo, Steven McMillen, performed by Cop Shoot Cop
Color by Film House.
Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Classification.