Possessor ★★★½

An existential nightmare that feels reminiscent of several pillars of the sci-fi genre, from 'Ghost in the Shell' to more mainstream affair such as 'Inception'. Perhaps even owing a debt to David Cronenberg's work with 'body horror', moments and ideas relating to a fusion between the technological and the organic seem lifted from the worlds of 'eXistenZ' and 'Videodrome'.

The central conflict of the film stems from a crisis of identity. As technology enables assassins to hijack the bodies of those close to their targets, presenting opportunity to take out targets with minimal risk of exposure. The dilemma that the film constructs is, what happens when there are two personalities, two psyches, that exist within one body.

Rather than offering salient observations on a society that is deconstructing the concept of identity via symbiosis with technology, Cronenberg pushes the experience, the nightmare. The perspective from which we experience much of the film is largely subjective. Seen from the eyes and mind of the assassin, Tasya. We are privy to her many waking nightmares, her growing paranoia and inability to return to her own identity. Not to say that the drama and conflict of the film is all internal. Whilst a great deal of the films atmosphere and ambience stems from psychological trauma, there are several occasions in which the damage spills out into the physical world. The corruption of the mind begins to manifest as total destruction of the body, extreme close ups of lacerations, punctures and penetrations as blood spurts and spouts.

It paints a cold picture, a cruel future, lo-fi tech and capitalist greed. The body and soul are commodities to be bargained with. The setup and premise are just about enough to maintain interest. Themes of identity, the divide between mind and body and an evolution incorporating technology have existed for decades within the genre - and have been explored and analysed in more detail numerous times before. But it seems that that is not the filmmakers intent, this is a corporeal experience, reveling in bloody chaos and corruption of identity. Which it largely achieves.

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