Possessor

Possessor ★★★★

It wasn't until the end credits rolled that I realized this is the second film by Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg. It all makes so much sense now, haha.

Tasya Vos is a "possessor", someone whose mind can be inserted into the body of other people to make them commit assassinations disguised as murder-suicides. She has a somewhat distant but decent relationship with her ex-husband and son, but the jobs are beginning to take a toll on her mind and when she takes on a new one things go terribly wrong.

This is a slow burn, psychological thriller. It has tremendously violent scenes throughout, but mainly it is about the mental state of our lead character, and how the lines begin to blur between her own mind and the person she is inhabiting/imitating. It's quite beautifully shot, there are some harrowing and surreal sequences that capture a feeling of dissociation and confusion, but it's also wise enough not to be bogged down by it entirely, even if a lot of viewers will probably find the slow pace and cerebral style a bit offputting. This is certainly not an action film.

The look of the film feels tremendously "oldschool", the first thing I thought to myself is that it looks as though it could've been filmed in the late 90's or early 2000's, and even has that tactile, "analog future" set design. I think the only thing that gives it away is that our main character has a thing for vaping (ha) and screens are simply gigantic projections that fill entire walls (not at all unrealistic for our potential future).

I do think you have to be patient with this one, it kind of sets up the premise under a false pretense of "cool assassination stuff", but again, it is slow, somber, uncomfortable and intensely cerebral. It's from a Cronenberg, so what else do you expect? Overall I do think the pace is earned though, and the journey remains surreal and visceral, punctuated by moments of incredible violence and death. I guess if anything you might fault the film a little for taking one particular job and essentially dragging it out for all its worth, but once you see where things are going it's worth the journey.