Possessor ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

A difficult, violent and intense visual trip of a movie. I watched the uncut version in theatres as a rare covid date and this movie came pretty close to my edges at times. The movie doesn’t try very hard to warm up to you at any point or explain itself at all - it’s content with minimal exposition and maximal imagery. Movies that do this don’t always work for me but Possessor works a little better because it tells its story mostly through what the viewer sees, not what they pick up in conversation. This way, you are mostly parsing the details through what you see and aren’t forced to try to decode rapid dialogue like in a recent movie like Tenet.

The movie follows an assassin that “possesses” targets through kidnapping and implants, and then enacts murders on targets so their organization can kill with almost complete anonymity. The lady we follow is beginning to lose her sense of self before partaking in her biggest - and deadliest - mission yet. The movie follows themes of identity and loss of self. Instead of trying to hang on to her “real” life, she seems bent on erasing herself from it - which is what literally happens by the end of the movie. The film is shot in a very unique way, full of strange angles and colours with a bit more time than normal spent to let a scene breathe. This makes the film pretty artsy at times and the connection between father and son Cronenberg is pretty obvious.

All of this paints a heady, complex film with deep philosophical themes on the nature of self and reality - and then there’s the gore. The violent scenes in this film are of the highest level of audacity and intensity. I had to close my eyes many times while watching this movie because I’m not of the opinion that anyone should subject themselves to this level of visual violence, especially if you surround yourself by as much horror as I do. I felt it was mostly gratuitous, however it does become the main character’s “signature” as she begins to lose the fight against the person she possesses. It’s a way we know (outside of the modulated voice) that she is talking through the man and it’s not the man talking himself. The movie has a suitably bleak ending, where the main character finally gets her wish and solidifies herself as the villain. I would never re-watch it, but this movie was memorable.

Scare Factor - 6/10
Overall Score - 4 Stars

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