Bodies melting into one another. A battle of the psychic in the realm of astral. The issue of identity, transmutation and transformation. Inspiring, bloody violence. There's even a speculative bit of kinky-rumpy-pumpy. Yes, Possessor is a Cronenberg film, ok. However, the Cronenberg performing with the jewelry of the family this time around is Brandon the son of David and David. Brandon proves here that he's more so than his debut film Antiviral that he's one of the stars from the previous block.
It's quite feasible that the processor was attacked by the previous block. Because Possessor operates on a notion that is so lofty it's scratching at the surface of the sky: what would happen if an assassin had access to one's body and shunt consciousness of the victim to the background so that they can carry out the slaying? This is a brilliant idea, however, it has the echoes films such as The Hidden, that explains how law-abiding citizens could discover themselves guilty of horrendous criminal acts. In a shocking opening sequence that reveals its gloomy potential turned into by bloody flesh.
It's the sort of idea of a movie that Christopher Nolan could turn into the $200 million blockbuster of his sleep, however Cronenberg does not have this kind of money. He is a shrewd observer of disturbing images (helped by a master cinematographer Karim Hussain) and a keen concern about the psychological implications of such a brutal or possessive action.
A strong stomach is necessary. If you do not have one, take another's.
When we meet Possessor's main hero, Tasya Vos, she's been swarming around heads of people for such a long time that it's taken away her personal. Displaced from her son and husband and from anything which resembles real emotion, it's one more of those carefully calibrated studies on detachment that Andrea Riseborough seems to specialise. She is persuaded by her boss (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to come back for a job that could be lucrative, Vos quickly finds herself out of her depth mostly because she's removed from the situation completely.
That brings us to main character of the film Christopher Abbott's Colin Tate, a patsy selected to take on the responsibility of an alleged (planned) death of Sean Bean's wealthy industrialist, his daughter Ava (Tuppence Middleton), Tate is engaged. The bodies begin to pile up the film allows Abbott to shine by transforming from a dead-eyed automaton to sweat-soaked freakouts in to an instant. In scenes in which Vos and Tate battle or when Vos discovers she is in the rounds with Ava and Ava, it provides Cronenberg ample opportunity to explore the issues of reality, identity and control in a manner that may make a smile on his older man's smile.
The film is very engaging and well-acted, but there's also a chilliness and a sly edge that's very Cronenbergian however it could keep the audience away from the action. And the violence. Pokerings, shootings, stabbings (use an imagination) It's all here, with the exception of heads that explode. You need a strong stomach. If you don't have one, make use of the stomach of someone else.