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Author Topic: Possessor reviews  (Read 488 times)

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Possessor reviews
« on: January 26, 2020, 01:35:42 AM »
‘Possessor’: Sundance Review
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The second feature film from Brandon Cronenberg is a lurid sci-fi thriller which brings a distinctive giallo-futurism to a tale of a woman who inhabits the minds of others through brain implant technology. Effectively a cross between a contract killer and a puppeteer, she takes control of the ‘host’ in order to carry out what appears to be a murder-suicide to anyone not in the know. But the job takes its toll on her own mind, and her latest assignment, in the body of a man about to marry an heiress, turns into a mental battle with a spiralling death toll. Possessor is ultra stylish and uber violent, but, despite a top tier cast, it’s not always entirely clear what is going on and who is in control of the finger on the trigger.

 That lack of story clarity is not necessarily an insurmountable problem, however, as Possessor is a film which achieves a great deal on the strength of its mind-melting visual impact and its elegantly cruel atmosphere. Elements of The Machurian Candidate combined with a lascivious abandon when it comes to scenes of violence should make this a notable fixture in Midnight strands in further festivals. With critical support and careful marketing, the picture could hit a tricky theatrical sweet spot between arthouse and horror. It certainly represents a step up in terms of ambition from Cronenberg’s debut Antiviral.
What’s particularly impressive here is the quality of performances across the board. As Tasya Vos, top agent for a secretive organisation catering to the murderous needs of high-paying clients, Andrea Riseborough is unnerving and effective. There’s an animalistic, predatory quality to her pale gaze; her humanity has been whittled away by the extreme nature of her work. On the way to reconnect with her son and his father after an assignment, she rehearses small-talk and pleasantries, wearing her own former personality like a costume for a character.

Jennifer Jason Leigh, playing Tasya’s handler and boss Girder, is equally unsettling. “I can’t have my star performer falling apart on me”, she purrs to Tasya, her fingers twitching involuntarily as if clenched around an invisible neck. It’s a chilling little gesture which hints that Girder is well-aware that Tasya is rather too good at certain aspects of her job. In a memorable cameo role in the film’s opening, Gabrielle Graham also makes an impact.
Tasya’s next assignment is to take control of the mind and body of Colin (Christopher Abbot), the fiance of Ava (Tuppence Middleton). The contract has been taken out by Ava’s step-brother; the victims – Ava, her father John and ultimately Colin – stand in the way of his inheriting the whole of John’s lucrative business empire. But from the beginning, something doesn’t sit comfortably. Tasya struggles to maintain control.
Cronenberg unleashes a battery of creepy metaphorical visual effects, showing dissolving faces, gaping eye-sockets and flayed skin. There’s also vast quantities of blood, spreading like crimson butterfly wings around the bodies of the collateral victims of Colin/Tasya’s itching and indiscriminate cleaver (or steak knife, or whatever else comes to hand).

 With its alienating, almost abstract cityscape backdrop and a colour palette which drenches the story in unnatural blues and vivid reds, the picture looks terrific. The woozy score, by Jim Williams, adds to the prickling atmosphere. And it’s this atmosphere, rather than the slippery and enigmatic facts of the story, which will likely leave the strongest impression on audiences.
https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/possessor-sundance-review/5146251.article


‘Possessor’ Film Review: Brandon Cronenberg’s Thriller Offers Lots of Body Horror but Nobody to Care About
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What better title for Brandon Cronenberg’s initially intriguing second feature than “Possessor”? For one thing, his techno-thriller stars Andrea Riseborough (“The Death of Stalin”), whose chameleonic gifts are as impressive as they remain underappreciated. This, of course, makes her an ideal choice to play a virtually anonymous woman whose career involves burrowing into other people’s brains.
But there’s a bit of defiance in that name, too. When your dad is most famous for expanding the concept of body horror, and you make movies about the very same thing, you can either chafe at inevitable comparisons or go out of your way to acknowledge them.

So does Cronenberg possess the talent of his genre-defining father, David? Well, despite the titular provocation — and openly clear influences — that’s not really a fair question. What’s more pressing is this one: Does he possess the talent to make movies we’ll want to watch?

He certainly has the skill. Like Cronenberg’s debut feature, “Antiviral,” this effort is gorgeous to look at it. In fact, it’s so well crafted that it’s likely to make a lot of other Sundance films feel relatively amateurish. But as both writer and director, Cronenberg focuses so intently on the surface that he neglects to include enough substance.

He doesn’t, for example, give us any background to his high-concept story: In an inexplicably sterile lab, a supervisor named Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) oversees the latest assignment for her star employee, Tasya (Riseborough). It’s Tasya’s job to remotely implant her thoughts into someone else’s body and then guide them to commit murder for Girder’s mysterious company.
Right now, she’s required to “inhabit” Colin (Christopher Abbott), a handsome grifter who dates Ava (Tuppence Middleton), the daughter of an evil millionaire named John (Sean Bean). John is the target, but for some reason Tasya is having a hard time with her latest task. Perhaps all the killings have caught up with her soul, or maybe the ignorance of her kind husband (Rossif Sutherland, “Catastrophe”) and young son (Gage Graham-Arbuthnot) are weighing on her conscience. Then again, it could just be that the technology, or the technicians applying it, are letting her down.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that things are going dangerously awry. But a high-stakes plot requires emotional investment, of which little is ever generated either onscreen or off
 Cronenberg has worked overtime on the things that interest him, which is to say the violence and visuals. As a result, the many scenes of macabre aggression push well past bloody into brazenly grotesque, and each one lasts long enough to make audiences squirm — some out of discomfort, but others, especially as the body count grows, from impatience.
He’s most in his comfort zone when nudging us out of ours, so scattered amid Karim Hussain’s slick cinematography are plenty of well-designed, deftly disorienting visual effects and images. What’s missing, though, is a single character to care about, or even a moderately convincing explanation for this dystopic fantasy.
Why would a woman who appears to love her perfectly normal family lead a double life in which her purpose is to kill strangers? How is it possible that her husband has never noticed anything odd about her jolting absences? And why does Cronenberg replace Riseborough so early, to follow Colin’s POV through Abbott while Tasya lies inert in the brain-swapping device?

While Abbott does fare a little better with his expanded role, Leigh does not appear to have been given any motivation whatsoever. We never learn why Girder behaves in such an amoral fashion, what is driving her work, or why, for that matter, her personality consists of little beyond Leigh’s carefully presented bundle of mannerisms.

This being the case, solemn dialogue about “minor artefacting,” “synch loss” and “pulse analysis” feels like playacting, rather than the language of a thoughtfully-created world. When one endangered character flatly says, “Get out before I call the police,” and the other responds, “Why don’t you make me?” it’s easy to feel a filmmaker is simply connecting the dots until he can arrive at his grisly, and altogether unearned, endpoint.
Jim Williams’ febrile horror score adds to the increasingly dispiriting sense that Cronenberg is less interested in complexity than in ostentatious jolts. The biggest surprise, though, isn’t found in the squishy mutilation or emotional decay. It’s in the fact that he’s blessed with a brilliant actor who allows each of her roles to possess her, and he chooses to hide her away in a lab machine.
 
https://www.thewrap.com/possessor-film-review-brandon-cronenberg-andrea-riseborough/


'Possessor': Film Review | Sundance 2020
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Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, imagines assassins using a mind-control device with scary side effects.
One worries about hurting the feelings of a budding artist, when complimenting his new work, by saying that it could almost pass for a hitherto unknown entry in his father's filmography. But Brandon Cronenberg certainly knew what he was getting into with his second feature Possessor, a psychological horror film involving body-penetrating mind control devices, deliberately provocative gore, and scientific tools that, like those horrible specula and pincers in Dead Ringers, enable violence without sacrificing a sheen of haute-design luxury. Hell, David Cronenberg's son even cast Jennifer Jason Leigh, driving home his film's echoes of Dad's eXistenZ. But this sleekly executed work is of its time, exhibiting the chilly aesthetic and psychotropic overlay seen in some of the best indie sci-fi/horror films of recent years. (Many of which also owe debts to the elder Cronenberg.) With sympatico lead performances from up-and-comers Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott, the film should carry its director much farther than his 2012 debut Antiviral did.

Leigh plays Girder, the pioneer of a system that allows one person to enter another's mind from a distance, shoving the host body's actual self into some dark corner while the intruder takes the wheel. (Don't worry, gore-hounds: Before this can happen, some drilling into the host's cranium is required.) She has built a lucrative murder-for-hire business with the tech, hijacking unsuspecting people to use as assassins, then killing them when the deed is done.
But the remote-control process is taxing. Growing too old for its demands, Girder is grooming Tasya Vos (Riseborough) as her replacement. Tasya's an excellent performer, so into her work that she has become estranged from her husband and son (Rossif Sutherland and Gage Graham-Arbuthnot), who of course don't know what she does for a living. But on her last job, she ditched the gun she was supposed to use, instead stabbing her victim over and over and over with a steak knife. Are cracks appearing in her psyche?
For her next assignment, she'll have three days inside her target before damage is done to the brain in her own body. She's inhabiting Abbott's Colin, a man engaged to the daughter (Tuppence Middleton) of an extremely rich businessman (Sean Bean). Tasya is to kill all three, so control of the family's company goes to a third member. Things do not go smoothly.
Though it refers glancingly to the oddness of a woman suddenly inhabiting a man's body, Possessor isn't interested in amusing viewers, as movies like Face/Off and Jumanji have done, by having actors we know play off the idea that, under the skin, they're actually another actor we know. (Which is appropriate, since neither Riseborough nor Abbott is busy developing the kind of recognizable screen persona Nic Cage and Dwayne Johnson employ.) Instead, Abbott plays the newly-inhabited Colin as someone experiencing an odd sickness.

Colin's job involves sitting all day in virtual-reality gear, apparently spying on people's webcam feeds for market-research purposes. Which means a day at work is a doubly disembodied experience for Tasya, whose own body is lying on an operating table, her head covered in a boot-shaped, rather upsetting VR rig. Viewers who take a moment to consider this might find themselves sharing the disorientation that ensues — especially when Cronenberg offers cryptic visualizations of the psychic exchanges taking place. Beautifully unsettling FX sequences show Tasya literally melting, rebuilding herself as Colin; elsewhere, images of one will pop up where the other is supposed to be, like a ghost or a glitch in the system.
Thanks to whatever was already going on inside Tasya's weakened brain, the two wind up fighting for control of Colin's body. Tasya manages to get some of her mission accomplished — Cronenberg always holds on violence longer than the viewer expects, then adds a grisly grace note, like an eyeball being squeezed out of its socket — but Colin wakes up inside himself, and goes on a frenzied Hitchockian quest to understand what's happening to him and how to stop it.
If things didn't get confusing at this point, the film wouldn't be true to its premise. But there's an emotional logic to the action and imagery, carrying viewers along even if they're not quite sure if they're rooting for the innocent man or his troubled attacker. In Possessor, both are victims, exploited even if the capitalists controlling them need to keep their bodies safe for the time being. There's more going on in the film than just head-trippy genre thrills; with luck, we won't have to wait eight years for the next Brandon Cronenberg film.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/possessor-review-1272650


‘Possessor’ Review: Brandon Cronenberg’s Gory Techno-Thriller Gets Under Your Skin
https://www.indiewire.com/2020/01/possessor-review-sundance-1202205838/

Sundance 2020: “Possessor” Is a Grab Bag of Sci-Fi Clichés
https://thespool.net/festivals/sundance-2020/2020/01/possessor-sundance-2020/

« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 02:27:26 AM by patch »

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2020, 12:09:55 AM »
Possessor is One of the Best Sci-Fi Horror in Years SUNDANCE 2020
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SUNDANCE 2020 FILM REVIEW! In just his second feature, Brandon Cronenberg has delivered the first great sci-fi horror movie of the decade with POSSESSOR. The premise; In the future corporations use internal agents to inhabit innocent people’s bodies in order to carry out high-profile assassinations for strategic gains. Tanya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is one such agent. In fact, she’s the star player at her secretive killing firm. But when the brain implant process takes its toll during an assignment, she begins to lose a grip on her own identity. Exploring self and identity, POSSESSOR deftly explores heady material in a sci-fi horror candy coating, delivering a challenging ferocious film.
The action and concept are presented straight away with a bloody assassination in a nightclub. Miles away, Tanya lays on a white leather chaise with her head in a contraption guiding the host body from afar. Once the deed is done, she is to kill her host body with a shot to the head and come out of her technological trance. Yet with this latest “contract” her boss, Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) notices that Tanya is losing her grip on identity. Hesitant, Tanya accepts one last job in the form of Colin (Christopher Abbott) a coked-out rich boy with access to the CEO of a major tech company. The goal is to inhabit Colin’s body and have it murder Colin’s soon-to-be father in law John Parse (Sean Bean). After going home to visit her estranged husband and 7-year-old son, Tanya returns to the facility to complete her final assassination.
Cronenberg script convinces us that this world is real by deftly sprinkling random details of the technology in context rather than explaining things laboriously. We watch the process and hear just enough technobabble to believe it and then we are off and running. To this end, Leigh’s understated performance as the superior, yet calm puppetmaster at the firm is grounded and unsettling. She knows exactly what she is doing, she is calm, in control and simply about business.
After kidnapping Colin and implanting the device in his brain, Tanya transfers into Colin’s body and assumes his life. In a brilliant pair of performances, Abbot and Riseborough make us believe that Tanya is, in fact, inhabiting a very alien male body. Standing before a mirror just after the transfer, Abbot portrays Tanya exploring her new host, lightly feeling the skin, looking at the odd genitalia in the front, and still trying to act as normal as possible while interacting with the people that knew Colin before being taken over. The two create a seamless illusion of a single personality. Then trouble ensues. Glitches in the technology making this possible are creating artifacts, hallucinations, and unpredictable behavior. Worse still, Colin’s hijacked personality begins fighting its way back to the surface. Will Tanya get the job done? Will Colin take over and trap Tanya in his body forever?

Possessor explores all of the existential dilemmas this idea can afford to a frightening degree while telling an absorbing tale of corporate espionage. Cronenberg has created a mind-bending trip of a movie with more to say than your average actioner and is supported by spectacular performances and make-up and practical effects that seal the deal. Brace yourself. Possessor is brilliant.
9 out of 10 stars
https://horrorbuzz.com/2020/01/26/possessor-is-one-of-the-best-sci-fi-horror-in-years-sundance-2020/


[Sundance Review] Brandon Cronenberg’s Heady Sci-Fi Film ‘Possessor’ Brings the Gore
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Like dad David Cronenberg, Brandon Cronenberg has a unique way of testing the boundaries of comfort and exploring the human mind and body in squeamish fashion. In his feature debut, Antiviral, Brandon Cronenberg declared himself a visionary director, one forging new ground in the genre space his father long ago abandoned. While his latest, Possessor, might belong in the same conversation as eXistenZ, Cronenberg once again proves himself as one to watch with a heady sci-fi film that brings serious levels of violence and gore.

Cronenberg’s sophomore effort is ambitious as hell, and it may not go quite as deep as the premise suggests. That the two leads are people we never get to know before we’re thrust into their struggles with self-identity, or that they’re not exactly great people to begin with, means that it might be tough for some to find a rooting interest. But for those that love cerebral thrillers with practical gore, wrapped up in a stimulating sci-fi package, this is a must. Possessor will leave you stoked for Cronenberg’s next effort.
https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3602229/sundance-review-brandon-cronenbergs-heady-sci-fi-possessor-brings-gore/


Body-Swapping Science Fiction Thriller 'Possessor' Wants to Blow Your Mind
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When the corporate assassins in Brandon Cronenberg's studiously gnarly science-fiction thriller Possessor want to escape a dicey situation, they make a simple request to their handlers: "Pull me out." It's that classic phrase used by spies in espionage nail-biters when their cover gets blown, a more elegant and cool-sounding version of just screaming "get me out of here now." Depending on your tolerance for stomach-churning violence, chin-stroking metaphysics, and body-swapping intrigue, Possessor, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend, could have you mumbling "pull me out" as you sprint for the exits. It's that type of movie.

Tasya Vos (Mandy's Andrea Riseborough) is the most gifted consciousness-thieving killer in her field. Working with Jennifer Jason Leigh's therapist-like supervisor, Tasya opens the movie by carrying out a vicious (and very, very bloody) stabbing at a swanky, light-strewn Toronto restaurant. She wakes up reeling from the attack, her mind fraying and splitting in subtle ways. But after a tense visit to her husband and child, she's onto the next assignment, a complicated mission that requires her to control the body of the boyfriend (Christopher Abbott) of the daughter of a powerful tech executive (Sean Bean). No time off for brain-swapping murderers.

Sitting in the driver's seat of Colin's brain, Tasya has three days to take out Bean's jerky Jeff Bezos-like figure. Colin goes to work at his future father-in-law's company, where he spends his days wearing goofy-looking goggles and identifying types of curtains while peering through the cameras on personal computing devices. (Cronenberg's script possesses flashes of dry humor that help break the often dour mood.) He goes home, where he vapes, listens to Orville Peck, snorts coke, and has sex with his girlfriend, who can tell there's something off about him. He's not acting like himself. "You've gone strange on me," she says. 
https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/possessor-movie-review


« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 02:15:59 PM by patch »

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2020, 12:00:42 AM »
‘Possessor’ Review: Brandon Cronenberg’s Ultra-Violent Thriller is Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Seen Before [Sundance 2020]
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Bathed in blood and gore, and unrelentingly aggressive, Brandon Cronenberg‘s Possessor is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It is a singular work – one so ghastly, so unique, and so brutal that it will awe some and disgust others. It is a film about extinguishing humanity and embracing savagery. The philosophy of Possessor is one of carnage. Of cutting ties with the things that make you human, and reverting back to the predator within.

As Possessor draws to a heart-stopping climax, it leaves its mark on the viewer. There will no doubt be plenty of viewers appalled and repulsed at what Cronenberg has created here, and that’s fine. Possessor is not a film for everyone. And that’s what makes it so special and exciting.
/Film Rating: 10 out of 10
https://www.slashfilm.com/possessor-review/



Review: Possessor
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Trying to work out what is going on in the sophomore film by Brandon Cronenberg is all part of the fun. Possessor, screening in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition of Sundance, is an exhilarating sci-fi that feels like the not-too-distant future until Vos (Andrea Riseborough) uses her mobile phone. Then the realisation dawns that it's 2008, and the characters and plotting are all symbols for how we already lead our lives online. It's an intriguing world, with much food for thought, as Cronenberg unpicks the scourge of surveillance capitalism. Throw into this mix some ultra-violence and gender swapping, as well as an eerie, tense atmosphere, and it becomes difficult not to liken the director to his father, filmmaking legend David. Brandon seems to embrace this heritage by casting Jennifer Jason Leigh as Girder, a role that has echoes of the video-game designer targeted by assassins that she played in eXistenZ (1999). In many ways, Possessor can be seen as the offspring of eXistenZ, and a child with a better understanding of how virtual worlds are changing our personalities.

The big job is to take over the body of a drug dealer, Colin (Christopher Abbott), and assassinate his father-in-law, John Parse (Sean Bean), the corporate head of a data-mining company. This task involves Vos having to navigate Colin's troubled relationship with his girlfriend Ava (Tuppence Middleton) and survive 24 hours working his day job, surveilling the private lives of individuals through webcams in various appliances. The goal of this voyeurism isn't sexual, but commercial. The company wants any information it can get its hands on, to use for advertising, thus encouraging monetary transactions. There are similarities between the ways in which Parse and Leigh's Girder manipulate, and this also parallels the social-media giants of today. It's a brutal and dark world driven by corporate greed, with little heed paid to morality or social good.
The stylish cinematography of Karim Hussain and the score by Jim Williams add to the sense of confusion. At times, the narrative befuddles, as Cronenberg refuses to give any easy answers, which may prove infuriating to some. Like life, there is no big reveal, just a slow realisation of impending doom.
https://www.cineuropa.org/en/newsdetail/384281


Sundance 2020: Brandon Cronenberg’s ‘Possessor’ is great cyberpunk
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You know you’re doing something right at Sundance when, barely a minute into the film, you’ve already got the audience gasping like they’ve just seen a corpse in the woods behind their house. But when you’re watching a young woman plunge a wired needle into the top of her skull and tuning something that looks like an AM radio as she cycles through a number of emotions, you’re gonna jostle people. That’s exactly what happened with Possessor, the new cyberpunk thriller by Brandon Cronenberg, and it very well might be the best adaptation of a William Gibson short story that the man never wrote, and it’s nearly neck-and-neck with The Matrix as the best film to emerge from filmmakers under his influence. A portrait of a bleak corporate dystopia that’s impossible to place in a specific thanks to its blend of the low-fi and high-fi, Cronenberg’s film is about identity and guilt, wonderfully directed with a ton of cinematic flair. Had it been in the Midnight category of the Sundance program, it would have easily taken the crown as “most essential midnight movie to come out of the fest,” because holy shit, you are gonna want to see this with a crowd.

Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is a corporate assassin, one who essentially acts as a drone operator. Covered by a massive VR headset and monitored by a team of doctors and her boss Girdir (Jennifer Jason Leigh), she kills her targets by remotely controlling others’ bodies through implants inserted into their brains via snatch-and-grab operations. It could be a waitress, a nightclub hostess — whomever is close enough to the target to get the job done. Vos has been warped by her experiences: She plays with the blood of a victim after stabbing him a dozen times, and has to rehearse her greetings to her family before she returns home to them each night. But she’s given a high profile job: Assassinate John Parse (a wonderfully slimy Sean Bean), a CEO of a large technology firm, so that her company can seize his assets, and she’s put in the body of his soon-to-be son-in-law, Colin (Christopher Abbott). The young man works in the lower rungs of Parse’s company, only employed there because he loves his daughter Ava (Tuppence Middleton). But weird things begin to happen as soon as Vos enters Colin’s body, and their identities begin to merge: Who is really pulling the trigger here? Whose personality is dominant?

The visuals, perhaps, are what make it feel totally alien — the scenes in which Vos and Colin merge minds are fantastically done, in which their bodies melt and reform, cut between segments from chopped memories and other vague visual horrors. And, this being a Cronenberg film, the gore is also fantastic and shocking (though the best body horror in the film comes verbally, once through a joke and once through a threat), and the film goes to some places that would make it very, very hard to release to a wide audience. But we really hope that Possessor makes it out into the world in its unaltered form: It’s by far the most metal thing we’ve seen here. 
https://vanyaland.com/2020/01/28/sundance-2020-brandon-cronenbergs-possessor-is-great-cyberpunk/


Sundance Film Review: Possessor
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Possessor is fucked up. It’s a great Midnight category movie, and let it be known that there is intense body horror and violence. That said, lovers of this ilk of psychological thriller are in for a treat. The writing and execution of the Possessor’s central conceit entrance just as much as they disgust. In a technologically advanced London, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is like a cyber hitwoman with a brain implant that allows her to enter the consciousness of others with those implants. Colin (Christopher Abbott), an employee at a surveillance company that uses this kind of technology, is dating the owner John Parse’s (Sean Bean) daughter, Ava (Tuppence Middleton). Tasya and her boss, Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh), hatch a plan to swindle the company’s assets by possessing Colin. The only problem is that Tasya needs to kill herself in the host’s body, and she can’t seem to will herself to pull the trigger.
The allure of Possessor lies in the film’s surreal representation of traveling to and being loosened from another’s consciousness. You can get a taste of of its key grotesque sequence via the film’s promotional still, which features a malformed mask of Tasya’s face. It’s a symbolic product of Colin fighting back to regain control of his body. On top of the revolting gore, the overall aesthetic of Possessor is cybernetic futurism approaching urban occultism with spy-movie underpinnings.
Something I appreciate about Possessor is that it introduces us to the consciousness-possession element in medias res. We must keep up with scant details about how it all sequences, and without too much explanation of how it actually works, the veil of the unknown buttresses our suspension of disbelief. It’s mimetic of Tasya’s excursions into others’ consciousness and being plopped into their lives with just a minimal amount of spy-work beforehand to be able to posture as them in unfamiliar skin. I feel just as on-the-fly traversing its story.

It’s difficult to access the emotional pith of Possessor. Tasya has a son and a husband from whom she’s separated for her work. As she takes over Colin’s body, we mainly see her awkwardness in adjusting to it and frustration when she’s not fully in control within the possession mechanism. Her commitment to this vocation, however, shines through and eventually proves that it matters

You may walk away from Possessor feeling like you hated it. I mean, really, it’s ugly—gruesome. The fight and murder scenes had me cover my eyes just about each time. It induced anxiety. But it’s a solid film with its own flavor of narrative logic. If you can handle the overt level of serious body horror, you’ll likely be able to uncover its compelling architecture. As far as the dark nature we expect from Sundance’s Midnight category, Possessor checks off all the boxes and then some.
https://www.slugmag.com/arts/film-arts/film-reviews/sundance-film-review-possessor/




« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 12:42:48 PM by patch »

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 12:01:22 AM »
Possessor Movie Review Gore, Blood, Guts, and Sci-Fi all in one.
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Possessor is a unique sci-fi venture, that features a talented cast, a brilliant concept, and a ton of blood and nudity. If that sounds like your thing than you should see it. If it isn’t then I might skip it. It is a gruesome movie to watch and sometimes feels even a tad too much, but the effectiveness of making you feel uncomfortable is something this film does so well. Walking out of this film I felt disappointed, and at the same time that the film had been lacking. For some reason the movie couldn’t leave my mind though. The imagery and story alone in here have kept me locked into thinking about this film. This very reason is why I feel many people will not like this film, but upon time this film could grow on others like it did for me.

I have had a weird experience with this film, this makes it for the better. I am looking forward to seeing it again and really formulating more thoughts on this weird trippy sci-fi ride. Possessor is truly something and Brandon Cronenberg is a director I can’t wait to see his next project. 
https://www.wolfofgeekstreet.com/reviews/2020/1/28/xy4dirinwx6smysys7lenpo2kqi291



Possessor is one of the most artful, colossally effed up horror movies in forever
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What’s it trying to do?
 With Possessor, Brandon Cronenberg (Antiviral) grabs the body-horror baton from his father, Videodrome director David Cronenberg, and rams it into the audience’s collective eye. The movie is relentless and artful exploitation, less concerned with blunt messaging than blunt-force trauma. There’s loads of literal gore — every stabbing in Possessor goes about 28 stabs longer than your typical slasher would stab — and the abstract battle staged in Colin’s mind. Sequences in which Colin grapples Tasya on the metaphysical plane blend the retro surrealism of movies like Mandy with monstrous prosthetics and liquifying visual effects.
Possessor strings together its gory sequences with a spy-movie pace. Cronenberg’s approach to exposition is basically the anti-Inception, leaving the rules and character dimension unspoken in order to cut straight to the terror. Confusion is part of the equation, mirroring the blurry double vision of Tasya and Colin’s shared perspective, but the director never loses his grip of what the audience actually needs to know to understand the physical turmoil of each character.

Does it get there?
 Possessor works because there’s more than blood pumping through its veins. The movie as agency and technological servitude on its mind, with Tasya’s assassination work mirroring Colin’s day job as a data tracker who taps consumer webcams to log to log home furnishing items and track buying habits. Every person in this dystopian future is having their strings pulled by an invisible other. Cronenberg makes his hard sci-fi point in gruesome fashion. The extreme violence, which Cronenberg often shoots with close-ups that will tickle special-effect makeup geeks, ultimately bolsters the bigger picture. Tasya is being pushed to the brink to get the job done, and at the cost of her synapses. Colin, though driven by another person, has blood on his hands, and becomes unique kind of noir sleuth in the process. Anything can happen, and everything does happen. From the conjured hell emerge two discordant, human performances out of Riseborough and Abbott.

What does that get us?
 A wildly entertaining movie that’ll probably wind up with an NC-17 rating. Despite the taboo honor, Possessor also has the right balance of world-building and ambiguity to be a conversation starter. Family plays a key role in Tasya’s strange career choice, and the influence of corporate forces becomes a central sticking point as the movie drills down toward a conclusion. Themes of gender, class, and economic warfare are all on the table. But horror is the clear priority for Cronenberg, and by god, the flesh wounds are jaw-dropping. Maybe even jaw-removing?
https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/28/21112369/possessor-review-brandon-cronenberg-horror-sundance-2020


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Only a Cronenberg could direct something like “Possessor,” a bloodily convoluted and erotic sci-fi caper that is never dull to watch. No, David isn’t in the director‘s chair for this one, but, rather his son Brandon Cronenberg, who clearly shares the same cinematic DNA as his father. The body-horror in “Possessor” is upped to the nth degree as a female agent (Andrea Riseborough), working for a corporation that use brain implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies to commit assassinations, slowly loses control of her mind when she inhabits a new body (Christopher Abbott). To reveal more would reveal all the twists and turns Cronenberg has in store for his audience, but, make no mistake about it, it’s the violence that makes this movie well-worth a look. I tweeted that “Possessor” may just be the most violent movie I have ever seen at Sundance and that an NC-17 rating is all but assure, that is if this movie ever gets to see the light of day in theatres.
https://www.worldofreel.com/blog/2020/1/u76695jwpmb2nxbackqze7pcbf64mk


« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 09:05:03 AM by patch »

Offline patch

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 07:46:07 AM »
Sundance 2020: Possessor Review: Grotesquely beautiful sci fi horror from a familiar name
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Cronenberg’s second feature is a beautiful movie. His previous film Antiviral was intentionally sterile in appearance. His latest is the exact opposite. Filled with vivid colors, the movie pops off the screen. Deep oranges and blues accentuate the terror on the screen. Hearkening back to the giallo of the 1970s, the movie has an old school aesthetic with modern sensibilities.
The great direction is not just limited to neon splashed moments, however. Cronenberg does an excellent job framing scenes. Building exteriors are shot in a way that shows off the coldness of the world Tasya inhabits. There is a starkness to them that makes the audience realize how lifeless the world can be. This is contrasted by the opulence of parties and the richness of Possessor’s hallucination scenes. The film throws a variety of images out for consumption.

Right next to all the breath taking shots is the twisted vision of Cronenberg. For all its beauty, Possessor is a gory film. The opening sequence sees Tasya (kind of) stick a wire into her heard before she eliminates a target in shockingly brutal fashion. This continues throughout the movie. Deaths are a visceral experience that the audience are drawn into. Even those who die off screen are later seen in pools of blood with gaping wounds.

The extreme nature of the movie is not just left to violence either. Horror and sex have been married to each other from the beginning. Possessor is no different as the over the top nature of the film includes graphic sexuality. What Cronenberg does so well is he never makes anything seem superfluous. The story deals with extremes and by its nature should push boundaries. Even in its most shocking moments, the movie continues to captivate.
(As a side note, there was a warning given before the movie was screened. It seems destined to be given the dreaded NC-17 rating.)

Possessor has great special effects. In an era in which CGI continues to get more impressive, it is refreshing to see a movie that relies so much on practical effects. By going this route, Cronenberg adds a weightiness to the film that would otherwise have not been there. Everything looks a little more brutal and terrifying. It is also an interesting dichotomy to see so much manual labor in a movie that has such a large focus on technology.
Brandon Cronenberg’s latest output is a mind bending science fiction horror film. Possessor is gorgeously shot with amazing colors and great settings. The movie is over the top in its storytelling and visuals, but is also enriched by the brazenness of it all. The twisting story is open to interpretation and will impress even those who do not care for the genre.
https://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2020/01/30/sundance-2020-possessor-review-grotesquely-beautiful-sci-fi-horror-from-a-familiar-name/

Offline Janice1066

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2020, 09:28:20 AM »
I appreciate all the reviews, so I can be prepared for this one. A gory, ultra-violent movie about trying to kill Sean Bean's character really does not appeal to me. I may have to watch it in small installments.

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2020, 02:06:01 AM »
Holy Hell, 'Possessor'
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They say apples don’t fall far from the tree, and it turns out that’s doubly true for apples that taste like perverted technology and disrupted human flesh. Brandon Cronenberg‘s latest arrives seven years after his feature debut (Antiviral, 2012), but while Possessor retains his family’s love of body horror and morally misused electronics it also manages an engrossing pace, engaging characters, unrelentingly brutal violence, erect penises, a must-own Halloween mask, a mean-spirited Sean Bean, one hell of an ending, and more. A lot more because Possessor is… a lot, and most of it is wet, sticky, and dying before our eyes. All of it, though, is fantastically and cruelly unforgettable.

There’s commentary here on a desensitized world, but neither Possessor nor Brandon Cronenberg are interested in making this a message film. It’s instead a devious, mean, and darkly thrilling ride into a casually dystopian nightmare. Bold visuals, graphic gore, and a ticking click pull viewers deeper into a world that captivates and repels in almost equal measure. This is horror through a sci-fi lens, a futuristic “what if?” scenario that given the madness on the news every day could already be here. It’s an apple, freshly fallen from the Cronenberg’s family tree, daring you to take a bite… and the temptation is impossible to resist.
https://filmschoolrejects.com/possessor-review/


Sundance 2020: from strippers and body horror to Hillary Clinton
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At the other end of the scale from the world of prestige cinema was Brandon Cronenberg’s unashamedly pulpy Possessor, a bloody and totally enjoyable sci-fi romp starring Andrea Riseborough as a mercenary who plugs herself, like a drone pilot, into other people’s brains in order to carry out assassinations for hire. There are many subtle (and some not-so-subtle) references to the body-horror films of Cronenberg’s father David, but Possessor is very much its own creature. Sundance favourite Christopher Abbott co-stars as the stooge whose body is being inhabited in order to kill his Rupert Murdoch-like father-in-law (Sean Bean). Abbott and Riseborough are the perfect fit, and the film raises fascinating questions about the dehumanising nature of violence committed at a remove.
 
https://www.ft.com/content/19727b26-42a4-11ea-9a2a-98980971c1ff


Sundance 2020: Possessor, Surge, The Killing of Two Lovers
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The best of the three is Brandon Cronenberg’s divisive “Possessor,” a film for which the festival actually turned away anyone who tried to get in that was under 18. It’s not hard to see why. The son of the legendary David Cronenberg has a similar interest in body horror although Brandon’s taste arguably skews even a little gorier and crazier. “Possessor” is a surreal journey into a world of sci-fi/horror that the official description in the Sundance program called a “splendid mindfuck.” Put that on your movie poster.

 The latest assignment involves the son-in-law (Christopher Abbott) of a powerful man (Sean Bean), and it’s going to be Tasya’s toughest job yet.
 
https://www.rogerebert.com/sundance/sundance-2020-possessor-surge-the-killing-of-two-lovers

« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 07:59:29 AM by patch »

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2020, 05:31:04 AM »
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While POSSESSOR may not get a wide theatrical release in the States, it’s something that deserves to be on the radar of genre fans and gorehounds. Even if this kind of thing isn’t usually your cup of tea you might be won over by the premise and terrific execution, as well as the amazing performances by Riseborough and Abbott. It was a late Sundance surprise for me and a world I’m eager to revisit.
https://www.joblo.com/movie-news/review-possessor-sundance-2020



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The first great sci-fi horror movie of the decade.”
Possessor explores all of the existential dilemmas this idea can afford to a frightening degree while telling an absorbing tale of corporate espionage. Cronenberg has created a mind-bending trip of a movie with more to say than your average actioner and is supported by spectacular performances and make-up and practical effects that seal the deal. Brace yourself. Possessor is brilliant.
https://filmthreat.com/reviews/possessor/2/

« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 03:12:17 PM by patch »

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Re: Possessor reviews
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2020, 12:01:08 AM »
Sundance 2020: ‘Possessor’ gets in your head
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What does it take to earn the accolade of “most fucked-up film at Sundance 2020?”
That’s the (unofficial) badge of honor “Possessor” wears. The Sundance representative introducing the film at the screening acknowledged that “mindfuck” is an overused descriptor for psychological films, but promised this was a movie worthy of the word.
The premise surely lends itself to a mindfuck. Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough, “The Grudge”) is an assassin who uses brain-implant technology to take over a host body, controlling it to kill targets for high-paying clients. The story revolves around a flashy murder mission: the assassination of a high-profile CEO — fittingly played by Sean Bean (“Drone”) who is notorious for dying violently in all his roles — committed by the hostbody of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott, “It Comes At Night”), the target’s daughter’s boyfriend.

There’s surely lots of intentional symbolism and underlying meaning to dig out of multiple rewatches. But I’m not interested in digging. I will be leaving my experience of watching “Possessor” with my time at Sundance.
https://www.michigandaily.com/section/film/sundance-2020-‘possessor’-gets-your-head



Sundance 2020 Review: Brandon Cronenberg’s POSSESSOR is a Mind-Blowing Sci-Fi/Horror Hybrid
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Brutal, bloody, and unapologetically merciless, Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor is like a cinematic throat punch that I couldn’t help but admire just how audaciously unforgiving it is in its intentions. Blending body horror and sci-fi elements to create his provocative neo-futuristic thriller, Cronenberg demonstrates with Possessor that he might be a chip off the old block, but he’s also confidently blazing his own trail in Hollywood, crafting one of the most brazen films to come out of Sundance this year.
Without a doubt, I loved every single gory, vicious moment of Possessor and I think a lot of genre fans will, too.

Her latest task involves Colin (Christopher Abbott), the low-achieving boyfriend to Ava (Tuppence Middleton), who's about to marry into her wealthy family. Ava’s father, John (Sean Bean), has made his millions in tech, with his latest company focusing on data mining, and it’s up to Tasya to take over Colin’s body so that he can kill John and Ava, changing the dynamic of the family fortune to the benefit of her employer’s client.
https://dailydead.com/sundance-2020-review-brandon-cronenbergs-possessor-is-a-mind-blowing-sci-fi-horror-hybrid/