Making the Grades
Computer paranoia is big these days. The belief that anyone with a phone line and computer can find all your personal secrets is a common fear, and The Net successfully banked on audiences sharing this false notion.
Sandra Bullock is a computer software analyst named Angela Bennett, who is asked to find the cause of a problem in a computer game. But her client is killed after sending her the disk and now Bennett is next in line with the bad guys monitoring her every move on the internet, allowing them to strip away her identity, friends, and family.
The Net claims to have the tension of a Hitchcock film, yet this idea has been done many times before -- the classic lady-in-danger scenario with the "twist" being that everyone is in on the scam. The problem here is that the audience trusts no one after the first couple of cons are revealed.
Bullock's character suffers from contradictory actions as well. Supposedly, she is so shy, she can't even face a pizza delivery person over the phone. Yet she is willing to drop her clothes for a guy she has known less than a day on her vacation. Nudity is limited to shoulders, but they do have sex. In addition, there are at least seven murders (and many more attempted) in this movie and about eight major obscenities including the most popular of profanities describing a sexual act. Usually a PG-13 movie cannot include this word in this context.
The one thing that does save this film is Bullock's amazing ability to make you believe things you know cannot happen -- like being able to save the equivalent of a small library on her floppy disk in ten seconds on a computer that (unlike mine or yours) never lets her down. But even great acting cannot save a film that can only build tension with typical frightened female and everyone-is-in-on-it plot scenarios.