Following up on his cult anime masterpieces Patlabor 2 and Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii makes his live-action debut with this virtual reality thriller set in a near-future cyberpunk wasteland, in which the youth of an unnamed central European nation are enthralled with violent and illegal virtual reality computer games. Ash (Malgorzata Foremniak) is a ruthless "Class A" fighter and reigning queen of the games. She's itching to move to the next level of playing. Aside from her gaming, she lives a loner's life with her pampered dog. She learns from a former team member, Stunner (Bartek Swiderski), that former game master Murphy (Jerzy Gudejko) was crippled after entering the game's most rarified level, "Special A." The level is only accessible under the right set of unusual circumstances. Once admitted, there is only one way out -- to win. Ash can't wait to prove herself and conquer the game. This film was screened at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis