Originally appeared in Cinema Sentries.
When someone asks me what a film is about, I’m often puzzled whether to share the synopsis of the film, or tell what the film is actually about. Take the case of Parasite, for instance. It’s the story of a poor family infiltrating a rich family to make money. What is it actually about, though? The persistent, wide gap between classes in a capitalist world. A layered screenplay bestows such depth, the duality, or what we call, subtext. Ignore the subtext, you still have a coherent film.
Likewise, I can surely tell the story of Brandon Cronenberg’s sophomore effort, Possessor. It follows Tasya (Andrea Riseborough), an assassin working for a vague tech-based corporation that uses brain-implantation as a medium to take control over people’s bodies and murder the target through the possessed. On one such job, which should be no different from any of her earlier assassinations, she is stuck in the body of the person, Colin (Christopher Abbott), she is currently possessing. There you have the plot and conflict. However, it’s certainly not your conventional body horror, since it thrives on ambiguity. Unlike other films, it’s hard to discern what the film is about. It’s more about the experience – which will stick in my mind – than the logical dissection.
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