Possessor ★★★½

Essentially a story about how much of our lives we lose to our jobs. When a corporate assassin with a penchant for taking over other people's bodies' latest hit goes south the real villain isn't the re-emerging consciousness of her host, but rather her boss who would love nothing more than for her top performer to sever all ties (particularly familial) to anything outside of the workplace until her identity is nothing more than that of a wholly devoted employee. This core subject matter and allegory will likely strike a chord with anyone who has experienced a career that demands a lot of mandatory overtime, extended stretches away from home, or just comes with the feeling of not having much time for anything else.

The movie toys around with some other compelling concepts as well. Like how companies violate our privacy to harvest our information or a key element of the plot being centered around the female protagonist inhabiting the body of a man and experiencing what it's like to have a penis as a result. The latter of which leads to a sex scene that will certainly leave viewers with plenty to chew on. The problem is that these scenes are more just interesting moments rather than fully fleshed out ideas that offer anything to say on the topics of gender identity, sexuality, or the unauthorized collection and selling of our personal data.

As important as the messaging and morals are, it's ultimately the visuals that will determine whether or not you enjoy the experience. Possessor deals in hardcore violent and sexual imagery. Expect erect penises, vulvas, and brutal murders galore. This kind of content will simply prove too much for some people. None of it comes off as shock value however, and there are plenty of sights that rely less on visceral horror in favor of a more psychological approach. Such as a battle that takes place entirely in the mental realm and concludes with the victor literally wearing the other's identity as a mask and being forced to contend with then becoming the owner of two sets of memories in what is easily the highlight of the film.

Yet, for all of its sick, stylish thrills that are certainly entertaining and intriguing to witness in the moment, there's nothing here that's quite haunting enough to stick with you for long after the credits have rolled. It's the one real downfall that keeps Possessor from being something that I can absolutely rave about. It's definitely good and certainly has some merit in its potential to appeal to both the art house crowd and a more blue collar audience, but it's missing something really powerful that would have allowed it to reach the levels of peak cinema it was perhaps going for. I can and will still recommend it, but you should probably temper your expectations before going in.

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