pureaubaby’s review published on Letterboxd:
stephen lack’s acting is incredible! like a robot! information overload: exposed to too much noise, to too many voices, and consequently foreign to human emotion. he’s completely unaware, which is why early on you see him lose control when insulted. emotionally ripe, a child in adult form. overheating without being able to locate the source. erupting into violence with no idea as to what’s driving it. what he’s doing isn’t understood, it’s a reaction. the instant firing of synapses. a machine responding to a threat. at one point kim obrist says to him, “you’re barely human!” written into the script what we can already sense.
the cinematography is beautiful. a greased lens portraying a pharmaceutical warehouse as alien: muted, green tinged, flooded w/ fluorescent light. explaining what we know, that medicine is inhuman, unnatural—easily as harmful as it is helpful. cronenberg’s bravery for cutting to close-ups of heavily proselytized faces. the apparent production, if anything, making the movie more enjoyable.
you could rewatch the whole movie only by listening to the score. howard shore mirrors both emotion and action, oscillating between violin, horns, keyboard, organ... he evokes both human history & an inhuman, machine based future. deep, religious sounding chords that call up fear & finality. electronic noise that moves through your brain as if you yourself are being scanned. sounds that ring, sounding right next to your ear and then a yard ahead of you, the imagined loop seeming to complete at an unfathomable speed. swells and fades eluding to a painful end. the visuals have to explode or you’d never know peace.
what i find most interesting is when a scanner, namely Revok, would fight with a gun, as if an absolute telekinetic power is still no competition for human invention.
how is revok wrong? to see his species as superior and more worthy of power than the average humans. do we not do that everyday? categorize ourselves as either more powerful or submissive to others, based on race, class, gender... and even further if you consider how we treat all things living. how we treat lower life forms, plants & animals, as subservient to us. in the presence of a higher, more skilled lifeform, computers, aliens, scanners, why would we—how could we expect any different?