Possessor ★★½

The ideas (and gore FX) are truly potent, the story less so. Should be the Manchurian Candidate for our time, but couldn't find a way to transform the paranoia and anxiety about technology and selfhood into a story with emotional heft.

As much as I want to give it all the stars for giving us Andrea Riseborough with a cock, I have to return to earth and acknowledge that that moment passed in two or three seconds, without accruing any weight or discharging any erotic energy.

It's starting to calcify into a mantra for me that trying to tell a story about someone deeply uncertain of their identity is particularly dicey. If you don't have characters who know who they are and what they want, it's like trying to make a movie with one hand tied behind your back. Riseborough and Christopher Abbott do a great job of conveying a sense of being adrift and lost in existential terror — basically suspended or interrupted as recognizable people — and the reward for their success is the movie never feeling like it's going anywhere. That this fundamental stasis is punctuated by incredibly graphic and intense violence only exacerbated that sense of there not really being anywhere to go.

The way Cronenberg actually tied up all his narrative's loose ends only retroactively confirmed for me that there was never anything at stake.

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