Possessor follows Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough), who works as a hired assassin, that uses a technology to allows her to inhabit the body of another person for each kill. We follow Tasya as she becomes trapped in the mind of a man (Christopher Abbott) whilst she struggles to complete the job she has been hired for. It’s a complex look at identity, free will and the power of technology.
Riseborough is able to portray the fractured nature of Tasya as she struggles to cope with the memories of her past jobs and hold on to her own sense of self whilst supressing violent urges. It’s unfortunate that for the second act and majority of the third that she is missing from the screen as she is the strongest element of the film. Abbott’s performance in comparison feels weaker and vacant, but there is also an element of the story that calls for this, as we are not seeing Colin, we are seeing Tasya play Colin but unfortunately this stops us from being able to connect to either character. During the second half of the film he is given more opportunity and seizes it, but there are large swathes of the film in the middle that feel quiet and lack the tension needed to keep an audience engaged for the full runtime.
What the film is able to do however, is grab the audience’s attention when it really wants it. When the film is gripping, it is incredibly gripping and at times you can’t look away from the blood fest you are seeing. There are moments of violence that feel extreme but are so gripping and expertly done, leaving the audience on the edge of their seat. The experimentation with visual effects and abstract images to portray the mindscape is equally brilliant and when the film is at its best.
Possessor is a visual feast of a film with an interesting concept, but due to pacing issues it is easy to find yourself distracted when viewing at home and is the kind of film that calls for the big screen, dark room experience. There’s plenty more promise than disappointment in this one, it just feels not completely finalised and at times anti-climactic.
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