Will’s review published on Letterboxd:
So disturbing - this is the first film to truly shock me in years. Brain implant inhabitation notwithstanding (for now), this is actually very quotidian and a real early landmark of the coming decade, both as reflection of contemporaneous emergent techno-industrial structures and graphically - in fundamentalist body horror nightmare form - as an anticipation of where our eventual developed integrations with technology will take us. Considering we already essentially operate in (the early stages of) mixed-reality, body-swapping itself isn’t even a distant outcome or unrecognisable symbolic device (the fact that body-swapping assassinations will be carried out at the behest of corporate business interests should surprise no one at all…)
Its film form and relationship with images is fascinating. There’s a recognition that the old distinctions of twentieth century media and all its associated normalcy have collapsed or are in the process of collapsing. Maybe this has something to do with why I was so viscerally affected by its violence - the film feels like an early peek behind the curtain at the new emerging digital-physical hybrid cyberspace with all its nightmarishly uncertain ontologies. One really striking scene in this regard is the one where the proxy assassin (who works at a data mining corp) scans through private webcam feeds for market research on background objects, stumbling upon a live couple having sex - the actual image itself is basically unrecognisable from amateur pornography, and whatever it is in an ontological sense features totally uncensored and full-frontal in the film itself. So what actually are we watching? - imagine seeing such a scene in any kind of other film dating back to the earliest ones about the internet. Pornography, as well as images of violence, have become motifically inseparable in media and too in reality at large. In the long run this will probably be a facilitator of even more numbing desensitisation, but the film is an otherwise stark reminder of the physical blood and bones at the heart of our new future - it is absolutely physically repulsive and I mean that in the best possible way lol.