Synopsis: When Albert Stockwell (Rufus Sewell, Dark City, Illuminata) comes home from work one day, he finds a note from his wife of 15 years, Nancy (Maria Bello, A History of Violence, Thank You for Smoking), saying she has gone to see friends. After waiting several days, Albert realizes that his wife is missing. Nancy has met her salvation on the Internet in the form of Louis Farley (Jason Patric, The Lost Boys, Rush). Nancy and Louis, both wounded souls, take comfort in one another through e-mail, pictures, and promises of perverse sexual encounters. Nancy has finally found the one and only thing that can liberate her from the pain in her life. While she pursues the freedom that she feels will only come with ultimate liberation, Albert is left to put the pieces together and try to salvage what is left.
Round-up: "As a first time feature director, Johan Renck fails to appreciate the difference between risk-taking and recklessness. The Swedish video and commercial director seeks artistic adventure but winds up with pointless self-indulgence... The drab, virtually colorless lighting and unimaginative camera an... gles create a relentless visual monotony that threaten to inflict nearly as much pain on viewers as the characters do on themselves." That's the Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt's assessment of "Downloading Nancy," which opens to strongly negative reviews. "Pointless" is also the Village Voice's Elena Oumano's word of choice for describing the film. "The jump cuts and nonlinear narrative are gratuitously stylish, and when you peel away this film's complex performances, at the core of its drawn-out suicide spectacle is pain so extreme, so alienating, and, in the end, so pointless" she writes. The movie has been described as a particularly distasteful viewing experience by a number of critics. "After viewing this film, I stumbled straight to the bar to down several stiff drinks, just to wash the unpleasantness from my psyche. Even in my vodka soaked haze, I still had to shudder: 'Downloading Nancy' is an excruciating experience" says Film Threat's Jamie Tipps. The New York Times' Manohla Dargis calls it "A nasty exploitation flick tarted up with art-house actors and psychobabble" and notes that "There will be blood, oh yes, along with a lot of emoting from two actors on the verge of permanent self-parody. Ms. Bello weeps beautifully, but what a waste." In her review of indieWIRE, Kristi Mitsuda finds the film similarly empty, writing that "Renck’s descriptions are broad strokes gesturing towards a checklist of generic tropes (sexual abuse, loveless marriage, suburban ennui) lacking the profundity necessary to save the project from going down simply as cinematic masturbation" and notes that "even cinematographer extraordinaire Christopher Doyle’s contribution can’t redeem the film’s failings." Lastly, not to kick a film when it's already down, but, one final review comes care of the A.V. Club's Noel Murray. "If 'Downloading Nancy' had more of an openly pulpy sensibility, then the repugnant premise might’ve had some lasting impact," he writes. "Instead, Renck, Cuming, and Ross—along with cinematographer Christopher Doyle—have made a chilly, bleak film about characters so programmatic that their plight is easy to shrug off."