Wednesday, January 13, 2021


Writer/director Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor is a gory techno-thriller set in a world not unlike our own where a company has devised a method to enter a person's mind and take control of their body. Rather than use the technology for good, it sells it for profit by making assassins out of anyone they can get their hands on. Andrea Riseborough stars as agent Tasya Vos, although mostly we see other actors playing the bodies she has been given control. As the film opens we can already begin to see the effect of the body swapping on Tasya both in detachment to her real life and during her job which foreshadows larger problems to come.

Possessor is at times a brutal film, and Cronenberg never shies away from gore (even going so far to hold scenes longer than necessary to illicit a response from his audience). Jennifer Jason Leigh also stars as Tasya's handler, whose team scrambles when something goes wrong with the latest assignment leaving her agent trapped in another body.

The set-up undercuts audience expectations. Tasya is far from a good person. However, when things go wrong, Cronenberg finds a way to make us root for both her survival and the completion of her mission. This is no small feat given the character's loose connection to morality by the time we are introduced to her. Cronenberg delivers a fully realized world that is frightening to comprehend. Visually, the film is stunning although some may object, as I did at times, to Cronenberg using gore for gore's sake (i.e. more than was necessary in a particular scene). This, along with the dark turns the plot takes, may turn off some viewers, but, even if you don't like some of the places he takes you, it's hard not to marvel at what journey Cronenberg creates.

No comments: