Review: Possessor

Brandon Cronenberg comes of age with his stunning second feature.

Brandon Cronenberg’s debut film Antiviral made it clear that he was playing in similarly gnarly spaces as his father, and enough going on between the ears (so to speak) to mark him out as a talent to watch. Now, in only his second feature, Cronenberg has truly broken through: Possessor is a great thriller about the possibilities and dangers of breaking and rebuilding the link between mind and body.

I don’t want to give away too much – but Possessor is set in a world where people’s minds can be taken over, if you can get an implant into their head and have the skills of a trained operative on standby – and Andrea Riseborough’s Tasya Los is the best in the business, able to take over her target’s consciousnesses and use them to carry out contract killings. But the practice does come with certain side effects, and Vos may find the job a little harder to quit than might be anticipated.

It of course doesn’t hurt to build your feature around a bravura performance from Riseborough. But this is Cronenberg’s show – bombarding the viewer with perception-warping tricks and effects, pushing us into increasingly psychotic spaces, and building up a sense of reality as nothing more than a feral dream.

Possessor is one of the better entries in mind-fuck cinema in the past few years, and at time of writing it’s probably the horror of the year (if you don’t count the news).

Possessor is out in the US in October, and in the UK in ‘early 2021’.

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