Possessor

Possessor ★★★★½

Do you ever worry about parasites?


Similar to Tenet, the son of legendary body horror film director David Cronenberg, Brandon Cronenberg's film Possessor, continues a 2020 theme of interdimensional time mirroring. This sci-fi horror film posits Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) as an elite corporate assassin tasked with taking out high-profile threats to the Trematon company which she works for. The technique used to make this possible is a brain-implant hacking device which allows the assassin to infiltrate and possess the entity of a victim or that of marks close to the target victim. However the job has started to take an emotional and psychological toll on Tasya herself - she has grown distant from her husband and child son, which has placed her marriage and nuclear family life in jeopardy. The constant identity shifting and purging which is her job has left a fracture in her psyche, and this fracture tries to correct this system error on her next job when she hacks into Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) an increasingly emasculated man who is boyfriend to the rich daughter of the target, a tech-media tycoon whose company gathers private information on citizens.


Possessor elicits themes of identity crises within an ever-increasing fractured and manufactured system of modern-tech corporate exploitation. Tasya not only loses a firm control over her reality, but her broken psyche latches onto and merges with Colin's in an attempt to rectify the crisis that spurs it on. The film itself comes off as an arthouse genre-blend that feels like the lovechild of Inception (2010), Enemy (2013) and Under the Skin (2013). The steady narrative pacing is given a creeping beat by the ominous score composed by Jim Williams which gathers intense climaxes towards the end of the film. The cinematography is rich with visual storytelling and colour symbolism, especially the bloody, demonic red that slowly settles in and submerges into Tasya and Colin's entities as the narrative progresses. Both Riseborough and Abbott rise to excellent acting performances with their respective rotating turns on-screen. Director Brandon may not be as skilled as his father yet as the overall story itself still feels a bit too undressed with not enough exposition, backstory or inner higher-political workings given to the corporate company itself. However, he definitely knows what he is doing with the way he mashed everything together just well enough to make the story feel compelling and important. 2020 may still not yet have a film to call it's own, and may not get one with all that's going on, but Possessor is easily one of the brighter sparks to come out of the film world this year.

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