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A few stray thoughts:

  • I love listening to David Cronenberg talk about the thematic underpinnings of his films, but I find that his work rarely lives up to his descriptions of it. Possessor, directed by his son Brandon, is more like what those descriptions would lead me to expect; its ideas about the intersections of technology and identity are neither plainly stated nor willfully obfuscated.
  • Possessor is a welcome heir to the elder Cronenberg’s most interesting body horror explorations, but I’m looking forward to seeing Brandon do something with more of his own stamp on it. (I haven’t seen Antiviral yet.)
  • Vintage cars, the absence of smart phones, subtly peculiar fashions and furniture designs, humans in VR goggles doing the work of invasive machine learning—I like how it all contributes to this film feeling quietly out of time, like an unselfconscious retrofuturism.
  • Of the various sci-fi comparisons it invites, the imperfect one that occurs to me is Total Recall by way of Under the Skin.
  • The growing audience for films declining to distinguish between art-house and grindhouse feels like a kind of gentrification, but if I have to sit through a Midsommar to get a Possessor, I’ll take it.