Possessor ★★★½

67/100

Possessor is not very original (its a cross between Inception and Ghost in the Shell, with shades of Mandy) but it’s executed with such panache and conviction, that one can easily forgive it this.

Riseborough (contributing to that Mandy vibe) stars as Tasya Vos, an agent for a company that specialises in carrying out assassinations by inserting the consciousness of their agents into unwitting perpetrators. After receiving a new contract from her boss Girder (Leigh), she enters the body of Colin (Abbott) with instructions to kill his fiancé and would-be father-in-law so that a third party can collect a sizeable payday when they take over the latter’s VI tech company. Tasya doesn’t ask too many questions; she’s exceptionally good at her job, and indeed seems more interested in it that her estranged husband or young son (in fact her mind is apparently so frayed by the repeated “inceptions” that she has to rehearse her lines prior to seeing them!)

The line between Tasya and Colin becomes increasingly blurred as their separate consciousnesses fight for control over one body. Images of visceral and bloody horror are sparing and incredibly effective as a result, while Riseborough and Abbott both give engrossing performances. The script and its’ underlying themes (the loss of autonomy to technology, the effect of technology on the mind and on consciousness, the mad rush towards a society where everything has a price etc) are pretty glib, but everybody involved invests proceedings with conviction and the (occasionally avant-garde) visuals are consistently striking so one tends not to think too much while watching and the premise is consistently fascinating.

My list of 2020 commercial releases (ranked): https://boxd.it/4MCy4

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