The Net (1995 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Irwin Winkler|
|Produced by||Rob Cowan
|Written by||John Brancato and Michael Ferris|
|Music by||Mark Isham
|Editing by||Richard Halsey|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||114 minutes|
|Box office||$110,627,965 (Worldwide)|
Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) is a systems analyst from Venice, California who telecommutes to Cathedral Software in San Francisco. Her interpersonal relationships are completely online and on the phone, limiting interactions with neighbors, and her mother (Diane Baker) who is institutionalized with Alzheimer's disease. Bennett's coworker Dale sends her a floppy disk with a backdoor, labeled "π", to a commonly used computer security system called "Gatekeeper" sold by Gregg Microsystems. Dale and Bennett agree to meet, but his private plane's navigation system malfunctions and it crashes, killing him.
Bennett travels to Cozumel, Mexico on vacation, where she meets Jack Devlin (Jeremy Northam). Devlin pays a mugger to steal Bennett's purse with the disk, then shoots the thief. He takes Bennett out on his speedboat to kill her, but she finds his gun and confronts him. While fleeing with the disk and Devlin's wallet, Bennett's dinghy collides with rocks, destroying the disk and hospitalizing her, unconscious, for three days.
When Bennett wakes up, she finds that all records of her life have been deleted: She was checked out of her hotel room, her car is no longer at the LAX parking lot, and her credit cards are invalid. Bennett's home is empty and listed for sale and, because none of the neighbors ever saw her, they cannot confirm her identity. Bennett's Social Security number is now assigned to a "Ruth Marx", who has an arrest record. Another woman has taken her identity at Cathedral; the impostor offers Bennett her old life back in exchange for the disk. She contacts the only other person who knows her by sight, psychiatrist and former lover Alan Champion (Dennis Miller). He checks her into a hotel, offers to contact a friend at the FBI, and arranges to have her mother moved for her safety.
Using her knowledge of the backdoor and a password found in Devlin's wallet, Bennett logs into the Bethesda Naval Hospital's computers and learns that Bergstrom, who had opposed Gatekeeper's use by the federal government, was misdiagnosed. Fellow hacker "Cyberbob" identifies π with the "Praetorians", a notorious group of cyberterrorists linked to recent computer failures around the country. They plan to meet at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, but the Praetorians intercept their online chat. Bennett escapes from Devlin—a contract killer for the cyberterrorists—at the park, but the Praetorians kill Champion by tampering with pharmacy and hospital computer records. After Bennett is arrested by the California Highway Patrol a man identifying himself as Champion's FBI friend frees her from jail. She realises he is an impostor and escapes again.
Now wanted for murder, Bennett hitchhikes from Los Angeles to Cathedral's office in San Francisco where, using her impostor's computer, she connects the terrorists to Gregg Microsystems and uncovers their scheme; once the Praetorians sabotage an organization's computer system, Gregg sells his Gatekeeper product to them and gains unlimited access through the backdoor. Bennett emails evidence of the backdoor to the FBI from the Moscone Center and tricks Devlin into releasing a virus into Gregg's mainframe, undoing the erasing of her identity. They battle on the convention center's catwalks, where Devlin accidentally shoots and kills the imposter (the real Ruth Marx). Bennett then ambushes Devlin with a fire extinguisher, causing him to fall to his death. The film closes with Bennett reunited with her mother and the conspiracy exposed.
- Sandra Bullock as Angela Bennett
- Jeremy Northam as Jack Devlin
- Dennis Miller as Dr. Alan Champion
- Diane Baker as Mrs. Bennett
- Wendy Gazelle as Ruth Marx
- Ken Howard as Michael Bergstrom
- Robert Gossett as Ben Phillips
- Wren T. Brown as Trooper
In October 1994, Bullock committed to filming The Net from mid-January through April 10, 1995. The Net was filmed in San Francisco's Moscone Center and Macworld on January 5, 1995, as well as Washington, D.C., locations in April 1995.
With an estimated budget of $22 million and a release date of 28 July 1995, The Net earned $50,727,965 in domestic box office. Including foreign markets, the film grossed $110,627,965 worldwide. and an additional $23,771,600 in rentals (USA).
Critical reaction to the film was mixed. Based on 47 reviews, it has an average score of 5.1 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes with 36% of critics giving a positive review. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars. Owen Gleiberman, writing for Entertainment Weekly, complimented Sandra Bullock's performance, saying "Bullock pulls you into the movie. Her overripe smile and clear, imploring eyes are sometimes evocative of Julia Roberts".
Spinoff TV series and sequel
A sequel named The Net 2.0, starring Nikki DeLoach as Hope Cassidy and directed by Charles Winkler, son of Irwin Winkler, was announced in February 2005. It was released direct-to-video in 2006, and was about a young systems analyst who arrives in Istanbul for her new job to find that her identity has been stolen.
- "The Net at Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- Section 2 Features. "Thriller may'Net' Actress Over $2 Million". Chicago Sun Times. October 24, 1994. p. 38. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Metro. "She Parked The Bus Outside". San Francisco Examiner. January 6, 1995. p. A25.
- Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel Smith (March 1, 1995). L.A. Life. "At Work On 2 Projects, Bullock Going Full-Speed Ahead". Los Angeles Daily News. p. L2. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- "The Net at Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "The Net Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- Ebert, Roger (28 July 1995). "The Net Review". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Owen Gleiberman (August 4, 1995). "'The Net' review at EW". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
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- The Net at the Internet Movie Database
- The Net at AllMovie
- The Net at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Net at Box Office Mojo