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.