Antiviral (2012)

Dorian: "Celebrities are not people; they're group hallucinations"
By Brandon Cronenberg
With Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon and Malcom McDowell

This one was pretty easy, it doesn't take much for me to watch a movie when the director and writer is named Cronenberg. However, this is not David Cronenberg but his son Brandon's debut.

In a world where celebrities are adored beyond reason, clinics have opened where people can be injected with the viruses of their favorite celebrity. Want your favorite star's herpes? You can have it. 

The protagonist of this film, Syd March, works in one of those clinics. Not only does he sell celebrity viruses, he decides he can also use them on himself.

The film starts off confusing--we are not aware of what is really going on and it's up to the viewer to clearly distinguish what is real, what is not as well as all the implications. The movie does not become perfectly clear even as it progresses, and a healthy dose of confusion keeps us wondering how far this will go.

The visuals are absolutely breathtaking and seems to follow a new trend of medicinal hyper-cleanliness that some films have been producing to great effect, and this one does not disappoint at all. The contrast between the real body and its blood and the cleanliness of the environment is really good and filmed perfectly. 

The main character seems really mysterious and weird, and while initially this makes it a difficult introduction to the film, we realize it actually fits perfectly. Unfortunately, despite the great premise and the possible moral, ethical or even political implications, we learn very little about the surroundings. There is also a great deal of mystery behind the motivations of the characters. 

Nevertheless, it doesn't fail to impress, that's for sure, but I did feel a little let down when the credits started to roll. I wanted more. I saw a lot of beautiful potential and got served plenty of impressive shots, but I had very little to reflect on after.

I liked: The pathological aspect. The cleanliness. The very bright, white shots. The main idea behind the movie. The music. The director's work. The flesh being an essential part of the movie. Blood on white shots.

I disliked: A feeling of unfinished cycle. I loved the idea of that very mechanical and/or visual machine to look at viruses, but it got me more confused than anything, and I didn't know what to make of the images shown. 

I will definitely be looking for more from Brandon Cronenberg. He is definitely a talented director, his writing also had a lot of potential even if it had me travel left and right without finding a path to follow. If you enjoy medical thrillers, this film should be a good one, although, it is hard to neatly categorize this movie.


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