IronWatcher’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched on Blu-Ray
What a feeling it must be to bear the name of a filmmaker who shaped the genre cinema of the 1970s and 1980s like no other director. Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg, probably knows all too well what it means to carry on a larger-than-life legacy. Cronenberg Junior seems to draw musical impetus from the explosive mixture of privilege and burden, which is already manifested in the fact that he takes almost the same congruent thematic complexes in his films that once made his father an icon. Brandon Cronenberg's second full-length feature film, "Possessor", now also illustrates for the first time in a sometimes highly insightful and expressive way that a dazzling future lies ahead of him.
"Possessor" doesn't leave its potential at the point where interesting musings fall flat in rudiments, but manages for a considerable portion of its running time to infuse its (grandiose) idea with the story, rather than the other way around. Even if "Possessor" is a little too plot-oriented to fully unleash its visceral excess, what we get here is a Cronenberg that is not about the incarnation of the inviduum, but fully about the dissolution of matter. The strutting of body, soul and spirit, however, remains the narrative core that allows father and son to go hand in hand here.
Brandon Cronenberg draws on the thematic repertoire of genre cinema when he tells of the use of brain implants by a secret agent (Andrea Riseborough) who is confronted with her existential crisis in the midst of the superimposed body worlds of a virtual reality. What doesn't want to work in "Possessor" is the disturbingly emotionalised drumbeat that Brandon Cronenberg visibly works towards, because - and this still distinguishes him from his borderline-genius dad - it is above all the surface that concerns him. As a nightmarish conundrum in which self-determination and alienation are worked through in clinical cruelty, "Possessor" is at times eerily immersive. A bestial fantasy of violence whose brutality is reminiscent of the cinema of S. Craig Zahler. At the same time, it is a feminine rampage, even though it has a largely male cast (Christopher Abbott) and for that very reason is consistently thought through to its conclusion.
It will be interesting to see in which direction Brandon Cronenberg's output will develop. With "Possessor", the offspring of David Cronenberg shows that he not only possesses the technical talent to be able to act on a par with his father at some point. He also has the ideas to take on his father's legacy. Anyone who likes extremely brutal, reflective genre cinema between self-determination and disembodiment should risk a look.