Christopher Abbott from Possessor

Possessor, A New Cronenberg Arrives

During a partial lockdown my only entertainment is sitting in the living room in front of a screen. I got a screener link to Possessor. I knew a few details about the film from social media. The jarring one sheet poster meant this is a not a mainstream film. 

Brandon Cronenberg is an apple who did not fall from the tree. Like his father, the son of acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg displays his cynicism towards modern technology front and centre. To classify the film as just a sci-fi thriller would be too easy. Identity, corporate assignation, gender roles, murder and personality theft are covered in Possessor.

One sheet for Possessor

His Father’s Son

I expected some head turning moments when the opening credits rolled. The “what have I gotten myself into moment” started during the first 5 minutes. The shocking opening scene gives a bloody preview of things to come. For Cronenberg fans, as I said, Brandon inherited his father’s artistic DNA.

Kudos to lead actors Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott for playing their synchronized roles without sharing a scene. As Tasya Vos, Riseborough’s breathes life into her almost out of control tech assassin. Abbott’s role as a possessed displaced person in his own body takes a subtle route of a confused man battling for control of his mind and body.

Andrea Riseborough
Andrea Riseborough gives a fine performance as a tech for hire killer.

A lot of mention has been given to the film’s cinematography and direction, well deserved. Brandon’s work is one of a confident director in control. At times the emphasis on style over story hobbles his script, especially 3/4 along the ride. A bit of overkill creeps in.

Director of Photography Karim Hussain’s camera work deserves mentioning. One of main criticism of modern technology is the sense of belonging while in isolation. Karim gets this across by shooting the scenes with a sense of chilling detachment.

Possessor can be called “disturbing”. But for me, I would argue this is a calling card work from a guy with a flair for staging violence. Brandon Cronenberg may not get invited to make a Marvel film. That could be a good thing. We need filmmakers with his perspective working outside the commercial arena.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Possessor, directed and written by Brandon Cronenberg

A Running Time of 103 minutes 

From Neon

Available on Video on Demand December 8th