Following in his father’s footsteps, Brandon Cronenberg (“Antiviral”, “Broken Tulips”) returns to writing and directing with his latest film, Possessor.
Possessor sees Andrea Riseborough (“Mandy”, “The Death Of Stalin”) as an assassin, but one who does her deeds by entering the body of someone close to the target, possessing them, before committing the deed.
Her boss, Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”, “Annihilation”), ignores signs that her best Possessor is starting to show signs of cracking, or maybe she doesn’t, she just doesn’t want to admit it.
The next target is John Parse, Sean Bean (“Snowpiercer (TV)”, “Game of Thrones (TV)”), a wealthy man who is wanted dead by his son so he can take over the family business.
To accomplish this, Tasya (Riseborough), goes into Colin Tate, Christopher Abbott (“Catch-22 (TV)”, “First Man”), the boyfriend of John’s daughter. She/he begins to show signs of oddness whilst possessing him, to makes things more believable, ahead of a family gathering in a few days.
On the big day Colin goes mental, gets thrown out of the party, only to return to finish what he/she is mean to do. Dead done, he/she simply has to kill herself/himself and Tasya will be released.
However, as per the previous hit, Tasya struggles to pull the trigger. She can’t end it, she’s been seeing things, hearing things, spiking and generally wigging out throughout the possession and the longer she stays as Colin, the worse things get.
As the two intertwine with each other, where one begins and the other ends becomes harder and harder to discern and, despite the company sending in people to help, they can’t get through to her.
Cronenberg weaves an intricate tale with some first-class hallucinogenic visuals that adds to the overall confusion of who is who, who are we and who is in control.
Riseborough and Abbott are as crazy as each other but perform admirably, both are quiet, reserved almost, but with nasty streaks.
Like father, like son, and so Possessor does not shy away from the gruesome, which may be too much for some, but I didn’t mind at all.
There are touches of all sorts of films, TV shows and influences, but only in the high-level jumping into someone’s body, Quantum Leap anyone, the rest is pure sci-fi with gruesome and horror thrown in.
I’m not sure how I feel about the film as a whole. I liked the premise, a lot, in a way I’m glad it wasn’t the usual Hollywood-ness of non-stop action. It’s weird, but in a good way, but it didn’t grab me as much as I’d hoped. You’ll love it or hate it, but it cements Cronenberg as a force to be reckoned with.
27th November 2020
THE QUICK SELL
Possessor follows an agent who works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people's bodies - ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients.