Sunday, March 17, 2013
Written & Directed By: Brandon Cronenberg
Cinematography By: Karim Hussain
Editor: Matthew Hannem
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Wendy Crewson, Malcolm McDowell, Nicholas Campbell, Joe Pingue, Douglas Smith, Sheila McCarthy
Syd March is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Biological communion - for a price. Syd also supplies illegal samples of these viruses to piracy groups, smuggling them from the clinic in his own body. When he becomes infected with the disease that kills super sensation Hannah Geist, Syd becomes a target for collectors and rabid fans. He must unravel the mystery surrounding her death before he suffers the same fate. --Well the film is certainly different, While i enjoyed the films imagination and originality. The film doesn't pack much of the punch you expect. There is dread but it never really comes over you, nor do you ever feel it. So that how the film’s mood is sparse and cold that is how you feel watching the film.
The director obviously coming from a great artistic lineage bring the son Of David Cronenberg more then comes up with his own voice. While comparisons to his fathers work will be obvious. Here he sets up his own world.
All of the close-up shots of needles entering skin in the film are real. So there is that dose of realism.
While in the first act there is a story forming while we get used to the world that we are being plunged into that is a bit skewed then the one we know of. The film sets forth to kind of be a mild mirror of celebrity culture and the nature and desire of fandom. Then as the film get’s going it starts to form a more traditional narrative with artistic flourishes.
While the theme of this film deals with the horrors of the body and it’s breakdown and spreading of disease. It get’s clinical but surprisingly and thankfully not as grotesque as you would expect. The Director definitely has an eye for visuals and working with the actors. While I will admit I like the film the lead performance by Caleb Landry Jones was serviceable but felt like he was trying a bit too hard to be strange and noticeable as a standout from the rest of his characters co-workers . I don’t doubt that he is a good actor. It just never felt like his heart was in the performance or the character. It might not be his fault as he might have been directed to act that way. His performance is noticeable as it is not only the lead role, but as out protagonist the audiences guide into this world and he is in almost every scene so we are there by his side on this journey. We don’t necessarily have to root for him, but we should enjoy the time spent and care somewhat about him. He tries too hard to be weird and intimidating reminding me of a performance mixed with the styleof Jeffrey combs and Brad Dourif. Wanting to go over the top, but with a bit of restraint.
During production, Sarah Gadon and Caleb Landry Jones both decided not to meet or rehearse prior to the filming of the hotel room scene where Syd takes a sample of Hannah Geist's blood. They both felt it would help preserve the separation of the characters within the story.
For the scenes that should be disturbing and disgusting I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the film and everything in it.
Malcolm McDowell is in this film and while it’s nice to see him in a recent film of quality He strangely feels at home in this film.
While at times the film seems to be heading towards a horror film. It actually diverges more into a drama with thriller elements. While I can admit it is never predictable. The film never seems to go beyond any expectations and while it’s odd it not only never goes where expected, but also never crosses the lines you expect it to either. Especially for a film that seems to avoid getting labeled into one genre. It feels like a light future cult film. I wouldn’t call it a midnight movie though.
Through it all it keeps you captivated and interested in it’s outcome and it’s atmosphere. I look forward to the future work of Brandon Cronenberg as he sets his own vision and proves that he has talent and interesting ideas. He has a voice.
Almost half of the content of the film was shot during pre-production. This includes the vast amount of playback footage and the many stills needed to decorate the sets and to be used with props.
The film works as a companion piece to his father’s Early work though a bit more conventional , assured and glossy. Though more restrained. While it’s not Grade A material it does have a B-movieish vibe with visions of grandeur and an artistic touch.
Watch on DVD