Possessor is the new film from Brandon Cronenberg. If one thing is clear, he has the early talents of his father David. Possessor contains some of the most memorable moments of any film this year. While the ending let me down, the ride to it was slick, insane, and gory. Sci-fi pulp this visually arresting should be sought after even if its themes don't come together as strongly as they could have.
The initial hour of the film is absolutely riveting. We are dropped into a world where a company sends assassins to literally embody someone else in order to carry out bloodshed. Body horror is front and center from the opening moments that feature a young woman plugging a jack into her head. She soon joins a group of caterers in matching blue outfits. From there she gruesomely murders her target. Although it isn't really her controlling things. Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is the one pulling the strings via a technology that isn't overly explained. We quickly glean that Tasya enters the heads of a stranger, acts out her mission, and is brought back via suicide.
Tasya doesn't seem able to return to the real world with ease. Her marriage is falling apart and she is distant from her son. She can't wait to get onto the next mission. Her next target is a CEO (Sean Bean). She is to possess his daughter's boyfriend, played wonderfully by Christopher Abbot. However, the host isn't so willing to remain docile. Tasya soon finds herself in an internal battle for control. This leads to some incredibly disturbing body horror imagery as the two pull apart from each other. Can Tasya complete her mission and return to her body? Possessor keeps a thrilling pace until the end.
However, that ending is incapable of the emotional punch needed to make the intended impact. Cronenberg keeps the film at an icey tone that makes it difficult to feel much while watching it. There needed to be a melting point in order to allow us to feel for Tasya in a way that would make the ending satisfying. That being said, the film is still memorable and worth your time if gory, mind-bending sci-fi is your cup of tea.
It took a few films for David Cronenberg to figure out how to care about his characters past the phantasmagoric spectacles he put them through. Brandon seems to be going down a similar path. The film shows incredible talent, especially in the visual department. There are great ideas here but the focus is on hardcore thrills rather than cerebral delights. Visceral, bloody, and at times brilliant Possessor marks this Cronenberg as one to watch. I just wish I wasn't so let down by its final moments.