Cyberpunk Review » Nirvana

January 15, 2006


Year: 1997

Directed by: Gabriele Salvatores

Written by: Pino Cacucci, Gloria Corica, Gabriele Salvatores

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Key Cast Members:

  • Jimi Dini: Christopher Lambert
  • Solo: Diego Abatantuono
  • Naima: Stefania Rocca
  • Joystick: Sergio Rubini
  • Lisa: Emmanuelle Seigner
  • Rating: 8 out of 10

    ~Revised Review: The star rating is for the Italian language version. ~
    They US Region 1 English Dubbing version only merits 6 stars

    screen capture

    If you aren’t buying this cover, you probably aren’t getting a DVD with Italion (with English Subtitles). The US version only has English Dubbing.


    Overview: Previously, my review of Nirvana, which was based on the Region 1 English dubbing only copy started as follows:


    All in all a decent cyberpunk flick from Italy, but unfortunately suffers horribly from bad dubbing. The dubbing here is as bad as your average anime dubbing, and unfortunately here in the US, this is all we get. :( I wish I could get a copy of this in Italian with subtitles - if I did, I’m sure this would shoot up significantly on my cyberpunk list, but alas…


    Now that I’ve purchased the Italian copy (which set me back about $30 bucks!), I still agree with my comments above - the dubbing ruined it. Truly. In Italian, the movie has the necessary spark of energy and emotion missing from the dubbed version. The story itself always held up at least decently well. What was missing is any connection to the actors. The Italian version fixes this. The picture below really captures the colorization of this film -we get lots of drab, dirty settings with shocking neon colors intermixed.


    Nirvana screen capture


    The Story: Nirvana is NOT Tron meets Blade Runner Meets Matrix as the cheesy tagline on US version of the DVD suggests. However, Nirvana is a pretty good low-budget cyberpunk flick with a strange virtual reality (VR) angle. Jimi (Lambert) is a computer programmer who is working on a VR simulation game with very realistic seeming characters. Somehow a strange virus infects his game and turns one of his VR characters into a self-aware program. The VR character has to “relive” the game sequence almost in a groundhog day type fashion, only each time he has to figure out how to avoid getting killed so he can progress further into the plot. The game is 3 days away from being distributed everywhere and the program doesn’t want to be duplicated everywhere, and worse, feels trapped in a nightmare. Lambert feels bad for the VR character and starts working to get the program deleted from corporate.


    Unfortunately, this involves hacking into the corporation’s corporate system. To do this, Jimi has to go to the seedy part of town outside the barriers to find the expertise he needs. Jimi is also distraught by recently losing the love of his life, Lisa, who left him for still undetermined reasons. Jimi stumbles upon Joystick, a former cowboy (hacker), who has lost his eyesight and now has to rely on failing eye implants to see. Jimi tells Joystick that the corporate system is also home to millions in illegal funds, that can be stolen with the right hack. Joystick and Jimi work out a plan to break into the corporate system. Along the way, they meet up with Naima, a computer expert, who also has a way of bringing Jimi back to Lisa. Unfortunately, the corporate agents are on Jimi’s trail, and want the final verison of the game.


    Nirvana screen capture


    The Atmosphere: The atmosphere is similar to Blade Runner in the sense that its a seedy futuristic setting. More interesting is the Neuromancer-style cowboy hacking that Nirvana embraces. The idea that we can allow our consciousness to “ride the net” in order to break in to data systems is one that currently doesn’t jive with modern computing, but it is very motivating. There are also a number of cool cyberpunk elements in Nirvana, including eye implants, hard drives embedded in people’s brains, etc. I’ve gone ahead and made a few screencaps of this to give you a better idea of the visuals:


    Nirvana screen capture

    Just your average eye surgery…


    Nirvana screen capture

    There are lots of Indian visuals here. This is really the setting.


    Nirvana screen capture

    This is one of the many sequences of Lambert talking to his self-aware VR game character.


    Nirvana screen capture

    Here’s our self-aware VR character, trying to convince a non-self-aware VR whore that they are not real. This chick’s dress changes color every few seconds.


    Nirvana screen capture

    This chick is implanting a memory capture of Lambert’s wife’s memories.


    The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a really good low-budget cyberpunk movie, Nirvana is your flick - AS LONG AS you get the italian version. I’m not sure it’s worth $30 bucks, but it’s LOTS better than the dubbed version. Truly, I don’t get US DVD distributors sometimes, but hopefully this trend towards dubbing is slowly changing. Even if you are stuck with the dubbing, which pretty much ruins the story, at least the visuals are more than decent. On top of this, I truly love Lambert, so I was able to put up with it.


    PS - thanks again to the comments below that enabled me to find a copy of this in Italian :)

    ~See movies similar to this one~


    January 17, 2006

    ETM said:

    I saw Nirvana some time ago, in Italian, so it was something else that distracted me - the guy who plays the virtual character is a very well known media person in Italy and I saw him all the time in various movies, TV shows and series, so, to me, he was a rather odd casting choice and a huge turnoff. I didn’t hate it, though, but I don’t remember much, so a second viewing is in order. I’ll see what I can do about that non-dubbed copy, too. No promises, though.

    SFAM said:

    Budo, I’d LOVE it if you could find a copy of this for me. I’ll gladly pay whatever costs you need for purchase and shipping. And incidentally, strangely enough, the VR guy was about the only character that seemed to work OK (mostly) in the dubbing for me, but then again I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before.

    March 8, 2006

    Emanuele Ravasi said:

    Hello! I’m Italian and I think I can find a copy of Nirvana for you. I think the dvd contains english subtitles, but I’m not sure. The VR character is Diego Abatantuono, famous in Italy for his comedy movies. Some years ago, Abatantuono started to work in almost EVERY movie directed by Salvatores. The couple Salvatores + Abatantuono deserved an Oscar for the movie Mediterraneo. Bye bye!

    SFAM said:

    Hi Emanuele, welcome to cyberpunkreview! I would LOVE it if you could send me a Nirvana DVD in Italian with English subtitles. Email me at for a paypal total and I’ll gladly send you the cost of the DVD and shipping. Although, I really would need you to check for subtitles, as I don’t speak Italian.

    March 18, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi Nytflyer - yeah, I got that version. There’s always BUNCHES of copies of it on ebay, and in the stores for that matter. This is the one I have a problem with. The English dubbing truly sucks.

    March 19, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Case located a copy at for me! So the search for a version of this is off. It will set me back 30 bucks, but hopefully its worth it! :D

    April 7, 2006

    Hadakàar said:

    ’cause i’m italian, i’ve seen that in my language. Unfortunately the movie is better to view in italian, because contains a lot of dialect terms and Sergio Rubini (the hacker) speaks with a tipical south-italy accent and it’s very funny. Salvatores was able to mix the italian comedy with cyberpunk sci-fi. I love it! :D

    ps. Jimi, Diego Abatantuono is a very famous comic actor in italy. It played some Salvatores’ movies (Mediterraneo, Marrakech Express).

    pps. CyberpunkReview is a veryveryvery good blog and forum. I’ll link you :D

    SFAM said:

    Hi Hadakàar, welcome to cyberpunkreview :)

    Yeah, I’ve decided to pay $30 (an insane amount of money for a DVD) to hear Nirvana in Italian. The dubbing is horrid. So even if I don’t understand Italian, this is OK, as at least the voice inflections will match the facial expressions now. I will probably re-review it, or at least change the star rating once I see it in Italian.

    And WOW! Your site is rockin! You definitely have great participation there. I had no idea that you folks liked cyberpunk so much! I also voted on your book poll (Snow Crash)

    ETM said:

    Italians are extremely passionate about lots of things… did you know that they, for example, have one of the best organized Tolkien communities in the world, SFAM? And yeah, that’s a pretty cool website, Hadakàar! I bet you wish you spoke Italian like me, SFAM!

    BTW, I wanted to post that Nirvana is on TV over here soon, and I don’t have that channel… Damn.

    April 9, 2006

    Hadakàar said:

    ETM i didn’t see your comment here!
    The “Società Tolkieniana Italiana” is very big and organized. an excellent fan’s society :)

    i don’t think my site is so cool, but thanks ETM and SFAM!! I’m trying to create the first italian cp community.

    April 14, 2006

    Hadakàar said:

    ETM, are you italian? :D

    SFAM said:

    ETM (first name is Budo) is from Montenegro. He speaks lots of languages though.

    BTW, I just got Nirvana in Italian. I’ve watched a little bit, and can already say it’s LOTS better without the dubbing. I’ll probably be changing my review a bit in the next day or so.

    […] Since then, based on a personal pleading at the bottom of my review, a number of you offered advice on how I could obtain a copy of the Italian version. Case provided me a link on where I could buy the copy - something I eventually did, even though it set me back $30 bucks. Now my updated review of Nirvana reflects this copy. […]

    ETM said:

    Ha! Just look at the cover… the very presence of boobies on it disqualifies it from the US market. I love Europe sometimes…

    April 17, 2006

    Hadakàar said:

    ETM, do you think Montenegro will be Indipendent on May 21st?

    About Nirvana’s cover….what boobs?? Ah…that little ones :lol: Never noticed, until now :D
    Good cover, anyway, lots better than the american one. “Tron meets Blade Runner meets Matrix” haven’t any sense.

    SFAM said:

    I don’t really care whether the cover is introduced in the US - I just want the Italian sound track. :)

    November 28, 2006

    Yukon said:

    Hi I´m saw the Nirvana and a big fan is a really top film.
    He has everything what i need in my life.I´need only the dvd from nirvana with german languge can everybody help? yeah

    January 16, 2007

    NekOtaku said:

    I feel like such a spaz now, I watched the American release, and I didn’t realize it had been dubbed from Italian.. The English soundtrack didn’t do anything to ditract me from the movie, but I think this might be because I watched it on a television set with broken speakers, so I watched it in low expectations audio-wise anyways..
    Nirvana definitly hit a soft spot in my heart, it’s so obviously low budget, but extremely well executed!

    February 20, 2007

    Illusive Mind said:

    A bad tagline is a dangerous thing. I hated the first X-Men movie because the trailer told me if I “liked” The Matrix, I’d “love” X-Men.

    Loved the cartoon series though, especially ‘Bishop’ probably CP elements in the episodes that take place in the ‘future’.

    May 4, 2007

    almy said:

    ova je stranica najbolja

    May 23, 2007

    neofilip said:

    ovo je jedan od najboljih filmova koji sam gledao
    nigde ne mogu da nadjem linkove za download
    ako ih neko ima neka ih zakaci

    This is one of the best move i ever seen
    a can’t found rapidshare links for it
    if any one have them please put them on

    June 29, 2007

    Piotr said:

    In Poland this movie was added to a computer magazine.
    Many movies on DVD are added to newspapers or magazines in Poland.

    In Poland you can still buy a movie DVDs in such a version (without a magazine) for about 2-3 USD.

    You can still get “Nirvana” in Poland (its the same I’ve got) :
    4,90 Polish Zlotys is about 2 US Dolars or less than 2 Euro

    Its in english version with polish subtitles.

    July 6, 2007

    jackketch said:

    I’ve just bought and ripped a copy of the polish dvd (don’t worry it’s in english!). With any luck I’ll be putting it up on over this weekend. I may also have it as a direct download on my website.

    July 7, 2007

    jackketch said:

    -direct download linky

    jackketch said:

    July 9, 2007

    CLY said:

    It’s really good movie and thanks for share. I can’t found it for a long time in Turkey.

    jackketch said:

    Please note, interest in my download link has been extreme (130GB downloaded yesterday alone) and there’s the rub. My web hosting service suspends me if I transfer more than 120 GB on any single day. Suspension is for upto 24 hours.

    So if you find the site has been suspended then try again the next day or use the bt link.

    October 31, 2007

    jackketch said:

    Why ‘reeking torrent’? I’ve not had any complaints about it so far and a lot of praise. Oh and btw I took the direct download link down as there was just too much demand and it was crashing the site.

    November 25, 2007

    iamlove67 said:

    I wasn’t that bothered by the dubbing…until I heard Solo’s voice…

    June 8, 2008

    stanley said:

    I originally saw this a few years ago after midnight on tv, but it was in the horrible dub. I still enjoyed it then but gettng the italian version it deifnitely feels like your watching a more serious cyberpunk film. Stylistically it’s very interesting and pretty impressive for a low budget italian film.

    June 9, 2008

    jackketch said:

    (apologies to Root if this is a double post, first one doesn’t seemed to have gone through)

    I have put up a better quality divdrip on rapidshare (thanks to Gr0z in Belgium for ripping it) . Join with HJsplit (free, google). Its another rip of the english version that came with the a polish pc mag.

    June 23, 2008

    fiola said:

    A million thanx jackketch!!!!! :D

    July 4, 2008

    Arkhaz said:

    Thx for the uploads!
    However it would be even better (if possible, to the lucky owner) to create a torrent with the Italian version along with subs (in english and spanish if there are any).
    That would be highly appreciated too, because it is almost impossible to find it elsewhere.
    Thx again to those who have contributed by uploading/posting/commenting!

    August 4, 2008

    redcat said:

    omg, this is probably the only place on the web to find this movie. thanks a lot! to me it’s a sci-fi classic, looking very good concerning that it’s made in 1997.

    October 19, 2008

    Nirvana 1997[dvdrip]x264[aac]eng[mp4] (1s 0l) said (pingback):

    […] Review: Nirvana review @ Cyberpunkreview […]

    January 4, 2009

    Zilla said:

    here it is: (Nirvana 1997[dvdrip]x264[aac]eng[mp4])

    I WANT DVD9 :)

    April 5, 2009

    PinkyHellbitch said:

    =O wow this look hot i’ll download it right now !

    April 29, 2009

    p2501 said:

    Nirvana has very good cyberpunk atmosphere. Also the choice of music corresponds to ‘90 idea about cyberpunk and because it is European project it has it’s own peculiarities which makes it different (then for example Ghost In The Shell (1995)) and interesting.

    March 30, 2010

    Vente maison 22 said (trackback):

    Vente maison 22…

    Nous recommandons à nos internautes votre article : Cyberpunk Review ” Nirvana. A disposition sur notre compte Facebook et Twitter….

    April 22, 2010

    Sniper said:

    What can I say, one of my favourite. Must have!!!

    May 24, 2010

    TailEx said:

    Well, I think this is one of the best cyberpunk movie, I put in in one line with Blade Runner and first Matrix. I have 3 version of it: russian, english and italian and I don’t bored from it yet. :) The itailan is the best of course.

    Must have, must see and see and see forever! :)

    May 25, 2011

    jimi said:

    hi. I’m alive and Solo is here with me. I’ve didn’t delete him… see you in the next game…..

    July 2, 2011

    spiralofhope said:

    I watched it in Italian and it was pretty good, although the subtitles I had weren’t perfect.

    I’m re-watching it in English and I must say that it’s just fine for my tastes. The lead actor is dubbing over for his character, which is really nice since I know his voice well (from Highlander).

    July 12, 2011

    Vampyre Mike said:

    Excellent Cyberpunk film, have a copy of the Italian edition I will watch soon enough. I even loved the U.S. release ;)

    January 13, 2012

    vincenzoml said:

    I feel the need to comment :) This is directed by Gabriele Salvatores, who typically does not do science fiction. All the other actors don’t either. Sergio Rubini is an amazing actor on its own, and so is the director. The result when watched in Italian is a very high quality, philosophical Italian movie, with the regional accents, the missing love, the short poetry and all the rest, which oddly is … a great cyberpunk movie! And while I think Lambert is perfect for the role, it’s by far the worst actor in the movie… and when watching this one should appreciate the contrast between the “perfect” Lambert who is really the only good guy here, and the outlaw-ish life of the hackers involved. And I’ll stop here, I think this renders the idea.

    Amazing web site, thanks for your work!

    ~All Related Entries Related This~


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