quinni ✨’s review published on Letterboxd:
Brutality defined, plugged in, and excavated.
We live our most messed up duality in Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor. A composed terror to scar the masses or possibly to ignite them instead.
It's not hard to imagine a world where mind control takes an underground prevalence in society. People using others for their own means, perhaps even worse- corporations under contract who legally kidnap, implant, and possess the body of another living being.
Tasya Vos is the most advanced assassin employed, able to manipulate others personalities after a few hours of close observation. She's such a "good actor" that she even rehearses lines she delivers to her separated husband and son. Absolutely overcome by mental instability, she is vindictively haunted by her recent murders, pieces of her psyche crumbling and melting away.
Believe me when I say that if bodily horror is not your style, you will not like this movie. Growing up watching basically the entire Saw franchise makes it easier for me to experience the (pretentiously called) artistry that Cronenberg is trying to go for here. Specifically the mending of Vos's consciousness to her new client. It presents itself as a body; skin dripping like wax to reveal hollowness inside. CGI works back and forth with erratic imagery and editing to visualize the connection from our main character to our next.
And oh boy does Christopher Abbott easily fit into that center stage. Have you ever watched a man play two different characters at once?....⁽ʷʰᵒ ⁱˢⁿ'ᵗ ᵘʳ ᵗᵒˣⁱᶜ ᵉˣ?⁾ Well, now there's over an hour of that content in this film. We watch Colin Tate fight a seemingly impossible battle between his life and the tech chipped in his brain. In turn, we struggle too. The morality of the whole situation completely undefined- we take these steps into Colin's life. A loving relationship is placed before us, so much so that his girlfriend Ava, played by Tuppence Middleton, notices a change in him immediately.
Very strong actors, immersive editing, a sound design and score that stretches further into the distortion. It evolves into something uniquely disturbing. The movie pushes the seams at concept vs art and substance vs style. It constantly looks to say something in as little words possible, but yet refuses to build upon the necessity of the foundational universe. It leaves me desperately looking for another glimpse into the state of the world as Possessor finds it.
The futuristic parallels between our reality and this one make the plausibility almost excruciating. Lots of smoke billowing from hand held vapes, large TV screens installed as a full wall in the living room. Still plenty of mansions and high rise apartment buildings. Is this merely a bland copy of where our world is heading? Is there nothing else that Cronenberg has to say about the state of consciousness relative to the state of our government, our society?
And yes, we all live in a society, but personally I want a movie to give me more than that. Say something. A director has two hours of my life (or more on my instant rewatch)- to show me what the world means to them. To give me something to care about, that I will have to take with me to the end.
So it only makes sense that the cinematography feels a bit too "art-house" at times. Some shots just scanning tops of buildings or zooming in at odd angles to establish setting. Disjointed energy runs throughout the entire film because of this. Not saying this is necessarily the best choice. Already there is a lot playing on the ordeal of perspective so the universe needs a better sense of credibility. Right now, the whole movie only delves in one stand alone delusional consciousness.
All manipulation. All bullshit. All for show.
In conclusion, all I can say is: damn my body dysmorphia is gonna be bad this week