Possessor

Vampire Owl: We do feel that we are possessed very often.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but they are gentle spirits of the forest.

Vampire Owl: There are gentle possessors. Possessing another person’s body is evil.

Vampire Bat: The gentle spirits of the forests have the right to possess.

Vampire Owl: It is not that gentle a possession. I know that.

Vampire Bat: There is a deal between Vampire Elders and the Spirits. You have to honour that as part of our allegiance.

Vampire Owl: There is no honour among non-vampire entities.

Vampire Bat: Honour is just a word. The definition goes by our actions.

Vampire Owl: Possession of another person’s body is not an act of honour.

Vampire Bat: Well, honour depends a lot on the opinions anyway.

[Gets some potato chips and three glasses of Spanish delight shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a certain alternate reality, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is living as an assassin, but that requires her to take control of others’s bodies to carry out the murders which have become part of her life. The agency of the assassins use an implany installed in the captured host’s brain to control the person, and Vos’ consciousness is inserted in there. Vos decides how to go through the murder using the new body. After the job is completed, she forces the host to commit suicide, or get shot by people, which is the basically the only way for her to get back to her own body. She is considered to be one of the best assassins the group ever had, but as she spends too much of time in the bodies of others, imitating them, she struggles with her identity, and often fails to understand who she really is. She has to practice in her real life to speak normally, just like she has to practice before taking the identity of others. The memories of the murders which she had committed continues to haunt her at all time, spoiling her limited time with her family.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is in control of the agency, is confident about Vos, but hopes that she is detached from her family, which would make her an even better assassin, as attachments are holding her back. She also holds on to lot of her memories from the past. She is forced to take the next assignment too early despite not being that stable – this time, she has to take the body of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) and murder the host’s lover Ava Parse (Tuppence Middleton) and his future father-in-law John Parse (Sean Bean), who is a wealthy CEO – the large amount of money and the properties are the target here. In the end, the CEO’s stepson would be taking over the company, and this would also bring the agency a lot of money. But the mission is only a partial success, as Ava is dead, but not the main target, John Parse survives. Vos is not able to escape from the body either, as she cannot make him commit suicide. She understands that she cannot leave this body due to a damaged implant, and she is now strong enough to overpower his will. Now, an inside crisis begins.

The defence of Possessor :: Possessor does have some fine ideas behind it, and we feel them to be strong in the first half of the film. The initial scene is quite a strong one, and it is what makes us very much interested in seeing what is to be followed. There is the courage to go divergent, which is seen here, even though the same losses the strength after showing so much strength in the beginning. The question is indeed asked about identity here, and the problems when one person tries to becomes someone else. It tells the viewers that the basic nature always wins, and you just cannot try to be another person like acting a role. The movie does remain dark throughout its run, and there is nothing like hope of positivity being thrown here, even though we feel that there is a family with a child involved, and there would be a “happily ever after” coming up soon. Well, we know that reality is a dark, tragic space where people are only interested in selfish deeds, and therefore, this movie more or less reflects the same. After all, humanity is not of hope in the present, past or the future.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have the strength to go through this idea with the visuals, which could have been better, and the action could have been stronger too. The science fiction elements could have also been used with clarity around here. Some more clarity would have only helped the movie, and as it moves towards the end, the focus seems to be somewhat lost, even though the beginning stages were making us wishing for the better. Too many images come and go here, but without them coming together well enough, this cannot be considered as the best of use of the available resources. You can always have a Hitman, John Wick, Gemini Man or Anna doing their job, but not without some fine visualizations. The early death of Tuppence Middleton is also disappointing, considering the fact that she was one nice addition to the film. In the end, one does wonder if all these were for this one thing, as you were expecting that grand finish, and not something like this.

Performers of the soul :: Andrea Riseborough’s performance is the one to remember, and there is no doubt about the same. Her work is limited due to some strange visions and the lack of clarity which the movie has. Christopher Abbott does a pretty good job, but having the mind-controlled, confused character not leaving out the complication at any moment, leaves him limited too. Tuppence Middleton is the actress whom we had seen in a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending, and she has the skill to come up with something notable out of nowhere – it is no exception here. She is lovely, but we don’t get to see her for more, as her character is killed, and we see another work from her vanish too early for our liking. Sean Bean is very good yet again, and when he is there, we love how things proceed. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays another complicated character who has a few moments to remember. Rossif Sutherland’s role is rather limited here, and when we begin to feel that Kaniehtiio Horn was going to show promise, her character is also killed.

How it finishes :: Possessor seems to be the one movie which is more critically acclaimed and award-winning at the film festivals. The movie is interesting, and does have its moments, but one might not find it as that grand as those critical appreciations suggest. As I had written in the earlier paragraphs, the idea is very good and so are the messages, but they could have shown in a better way, and some of the characters could have also been used in better ways rather than just killing them. Yet, we are interested in the divergent idea and the path less taken, as we look forward to seeing such risks being taken further. If you like the difference in ideas being taken into consideration without holding back, this would appeal to you. Other than that, this one goes on a slow journey which begins strong, and gets weaker by the end, not strengthening its possibilities. So, it is a personal decision to be made on watching this film, and as these are the times of Corona virus pandemic, most decisions are indeed personal in nature, as solitude comes with different pandemics of the world, and the quarantine that follows the same.

Release date: 2nd October 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Tuppence Middleton, Kaniehtiio Horn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Sean Bean, Raoul Bhaneja, Gabrielle Graham, Gage Graham-Arbuthnot

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nocturnal Animals

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What is the movie about? :: Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) receives the manuscript of a novel written by her former husband Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal). It is named Nocturnal Animals after Edward’s special nickname for Susan. After an art gallery show, and while going through a flawed marriage to an unfaithful man and a busy businessman who doesn’t have much for, Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer), she is disturbed and has almost no sleep during the nights. In a world which seems to have nothing much to her, she hopes for change, and it is brought to her by this book dedicated to her. She becomes completely immersed in the novel, and that also brings back the memories of her with Edward, a relationship which she once considered to be full of love.

The story of the novel :: The novel titled Nocturnal Animals tells the story of a man named Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) who leads a family of three, including his wife and daughter. He is a calm and peaceful man who comes across three local criminals, Ray (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Lou (Karl Glusman), and Turk (Robert Aramayo ) during a long trip with his family through the countryside during late night. There is no real reason, but still a confrontation occurs between them and Tony, and his wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and their daughter India (Ellie Bamber) are kidnapped by the young men looking for trouble. Tony is unable to do anything to stop the three men, and somehow manages to get to a nearby farmhouse to call the police for help.

How the novel continues with its tale :: Detective Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) is assigned to the case of missing women, and as a dedicated officer, begins the investigation rgiht away. There is no clue about the criminals in the beginning, but the corpses of Laura and India are found inside an abandoned building. Tony is angry and frustrated with his inability to protect his loved ones and wishes for vengeance. But soon, he will have his chance, as Bobby is also looking forward to bringing the criminals to justice with what might be his final case. Still, there might not be enough evidence to frame all three of them, and they wonder if the best chance here is to take the law into their hands – but are they ready for the same?

The defence of Nocturnal Animals :: There is beauty and intensity in the way in which this tale is presented to the audience – we get to go through both the tales which are not directly connected to each other, even though deep inside, the same feeling runs through. The incidents in the story within the story is also a reflection of the happenings of the other, as the protagonist losses his wife as well as the child who was aborted, due to his own inability to stop the process, even as he feels that he really could have. It is loss of love and the never ending suffering that is shown in both tales, one violent as it is shown clearly as a simple tale of loss and vengeance, and the other deeply moving inside even though shown less outside.

The claws of flaw :: Nocturnal Animals is surely not a movie for everyone, as it can easily make people stop watching it very early itself. You might feel the need in the opening sequence itself, and it also remains slow for some more time – but surviving these moments is necessary to feel what comes after them, and as we get further in, we understand that this is one of the most different tales of people of our time, and there is a clear reflection of how bad the relationships can go, as what one thinks as love is not always the same, and infatuation and the pretension of love is never really the same as what goes underneath. It is up-to the viewer to get into this movie, and also go deep into its two tales to make things work. It is that kind of a movie which will work the best as long as you keep thinking and connecting all things together. Nocturnal Animals is for the kind of people who connect well, and feel the connection deeply.

Performers of the soul :: Among the cast, it is Amy Adams’ performance that strikes the viewers first, as she is indeed the protagonist of the real world, while Jake Gyllenhaal strikes us hard from the imaginary world inside the novel, which also doesn’t feel less real. After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and before the upcoming Justice League, Amy has one other movie, Arrival, and combined with Nocturnal Animals, make her the one performer to look out for from the last year. It is the character’s fears and insecurities that get best shown here, especially that of turning into her own mother. We know what Jake Gyllenhaal is capable of, and his character goes through suffering not just in the imaginary world, but also in the real one – we remember Enemy too, don’t we? Michael Shannon’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor at 89th Academy Awards and the same for Taylor-Johnson at BAFTA comes as no surprise either.

How it finishes :: Nocturnal Animals is the kind of movie that would have required a lot of skill to bring it through to the audience, and if we think more about the same, a certain amount of skill is required not just on one side, but also on two. It tells us that love is not love just because you had an infatuation during your youth – it is about responsibility, and about being there when the other person needs you the most. You don’t really fall in love just because you think that you do – then you do that with different people too often. It is a lesson that the new generation needs when they are in love just by seeing one side of the one that they love – it is never going to last long, and after knowing that the person who loved might not be the same as the one who is in the marriage, where does the love before marriage stand? So, is it better to start falling in love after marriage? Well, Nocturnal Animals brings different things to ponder about for different people it is that kind of a flick with raw emotions.

Release date: 18th November 2016
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Tom Ford
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Isla Fisher, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen, Ellie Bamber, Karl Glusman, Robert Aramayo, Graham Beckel, India Menuez, Zawe Ashton, Jena Malone, Kristin Bauer van Straten

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oblivion

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It was about six or seven years ago, that the Vampire Bat landed on a game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and he landed on his broken tooth which made him as addicted to it, as Count Dracula is to his coffin. This sequel to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and the predecessor of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim had shocked him in a good way, like no other game had before, and his wish was to write a review on it, giving it 100/100 along with Mass Effect, for providing him with that world, his second life where he actually lived, died, resurrected and got beheaded/shot on the head – well, he loved these two games so much that he finished it, as he wanted to that right from the beginning with no rest. For years, the Vampire Bat wished for the movie adaptations of these two, especially of the first one which was his mythical/fantasy world of chivalry compared to the inter-star battles and interactions of the second. But he has been disappointed for long, and here what he get is a movie of the same name as the Oblivion game, with a setting similar to the Mass Effect game. No, the movie doesn’t resemble both of these in story or theme; but this coming together of the elements of these two games is what came to the mind of this nocturnal soul when the first time he saw the movie poster, and he wouldn’t have dared not to share it.

The awesomeness of these two games are clearly visible in this movie though, but not in a way which has similarities. In those games, we could travel anywhere, but coming into the movie, it is a limited world which follows an alien invasion which nearly destroyed the Earth. After the devastation of moon which caused horrible natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and terrible climatic variations. The land is left uninhabitable with the mankind being transported to their new habitat. Former Marine commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone mechanic who repairs flying machines with advanced weaponry used for defence against alien lifeforms, and is also one of the last few humans stationed on the dying planet with his co-worker Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) living in a baseless tower-like structure thousands of feet above the Earth, but she is still no Rapunzel, and neither is he her prince or adventurer, something which shall be revealed later. Most of their memories are erased, and the knowledge about their past stays locked at the moment. For now, their relationship would seem to reveal that they are in love and might have been even married.

They are part of an operation to clean up the remaining forces of the alien invasion who are referred to as scavengers and also extract the planet’s remaining resources and are due to join the rest of humanity on Saturn’s moon Titan. Jack and Victoria maintain contact with civilization through a video link with their commander, whom they recognize as Sally (Melissa Leo) who is their symbol of hope and salvation, an escape from a world which is almost a wasteland and surrounded by radio active areas. Jack suffers from dreams which are more like flashbacks, having images of New York before the alien invasion and an unknown beautiful woman (Olga Kurylenko). Meanwhile, Jack rescues an unknown woman from a crashed spaceship as she was encased in a sleeping capsule, in a state of hibernation/hypersleep, and she turns out as the woman from his dreams. But they are captured by a group of humans led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman) who reveals to him that there are no aliens on the planet and it is the humans who are hunted by the drones. He requests Jack to reprogram one of the captured drones. But Jack refuses. Malcolm then tells Jack to visit the radio active areas which are restricted to him, and there all his doubts will be cleared.

With a spoiler alert, this paragraph shall proceed. It is revealed that the mystery woman is Jack’s wife, Julia who was with Jack and Victoria when they approached the alien ship, before Jack sending her and the other crew of the ship who are in hypersleep, into the space by detaching the backside of the ship, keeping them away from the aliens. Later it is found out that Jack and Victoria are cloned and there is a large number of clones of both, and they were not born, but grown – a reminder of The Matrix and The Daybreakers, I guess. Their supposed to be passionate relationship is also a product of these alien method of growth and one photo of them together. The alien shown here is more of a super computer, may be sent by the possible original aliens, masters of technology. This monolithic structure is clearly logical in its talks and even uses the images known to the originals of the clones so that they could be made to believe and obey. It creates a little dystopia to the group of two, or the groups of two to be exact. They are actually oppressed and are made to fight against their own race by naming them scavenger aliens. But, thanks to the imperfection of the humans, the imperfect cloning technology of the aliens and also a possible divine providence, Jack becomes somewhat the original again and leads the fight against his former employers. The solution would surely be much better than using a computer virus in Independence Day style.

The mystery starts and ends with Tom Cruise’s Jack – may be brings something from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall. We have had so many Jacks, from Jack Reacher to Jack the Giant Slayer, Jack Frost, Jack Sparrow, Jack and Jill etc. Here, this one is more of a thinker and a lover of nature, which makes Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome catch his attention, and he has quite a good collection of books including Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which he has kept in a small house in the middle of greenery unaffected by the destruction that has gone around for years. He is no parrot and this poetic imagination and love for literature makes him different, and may be he evolved thus after his cloning and erasing of memory. How can one not remember what happened in the movie The Island? Such a thing is perfectly applicable to an alien technology. Well, there is no limit for fiction, and if too many limits are placed, it would lose its right to be called fiction. It would become closer to reality, which would still spawn the question, who’s reality? Now that would be something better left untouched. This is another one of Tom Cruise’s memorable characters for sure, even as he may not be the perfect protagonist, and even if he may be many, numbering in millions. He seems to have fitted into the character with ease.

Jack’s should be existential. He should have been that confused in that wasteland, and also when he had realized that he was just a clone or a copy of someone else. There was that redundant identity crisis and those dreams which seemed to perpetuate nothing. His life gets more and more absurd every time he tries to get answers, as all the answers lead to him finally being a random copy. He had waited for salvation, the firmament which awaited him in the moon of Saturn, but that too is crushed. Now what would remain for him to end as a nihilist, but he has the last fight on his list, as he decides to help the human rebels, and in that process, even sacrifice himself. It is through that loss of life, that the Earth could be redeemed. But who needs an alien invasion to destroy the planet, and considering what is done to it, who might be the aliens? Some are alien to the planet and also to their fellow human beings, and in that case, aren’t these aliens with a powerful inverted pyramid computer better as they keep the human race alive? There is the oppression factor, but is that so much of an oppression considering what humans have done to their own kind for centuries and still continue to do the same in a worse manner even while calling themselves modern and technologically advanced?

Morgan Freeman is as solid as ever, and the two women, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough goes through their sequences as the characters themselves. The former is the emotional lover and the latter the passionate lover. Still, their roles are limited despite the screen presence. Another thing is that the CGI and the special effects out-did the beautiful women. As Jack “wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills” in his mosquito-like helicopter (like that futuristic helicopter they called Raptor in Unreal Tournament 2004), the visually stunning world is brought to light. There is destruction clearly visible, and the signs of the civilization included destroyed buildings, ships and bridges half submerged in sand, never-ceasing smoke from some areas and so on. There are gaps leading to somewhat an abyss between a group of buildings held together by soil or may be in their own centre – a path to Hades and Persephone, half-destroyed structures which look like different things all together, as well as whatever is underground and underwater. To add to it, there is the beautiful area of nature with the small house. Oblivion is an experience, and a lesson to mankind, as well as a reminder of the power of art and literature – rooted on that creativity which is more important than logic, for science can win brutal battles, but to win the war, you need art and literature, as they heal the soul better and people need their wounds to heal and their scars to fade after a major disaster.

Release date: 13th April 2013
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Zoë Bell, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.