Review by Disgruntled Monkey
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Caleb Landry Jones, Lisa Berry and Sarah Gadon
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
David Cronenberg is a director well known for his themes of ‘the other’; transmutation of flesh, breaking down reality. It's probably no surprise then that he is one of my favourite directors of all time. So, upon hearing that his son Brandon was getting into the film making business, I was interested to see if he would fill his daddy’s shoes.
Well, he certainly does and what’s more I found the content of this film even more fucked up than anything Papa Cronenberg ever came up with. We get a world completely obsessed with celebrity, so much so that people will give themselves the illnesses of their favourite celebrites to feel closer to them. Enter Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones), a seller of viruses to the public who also secretly injects himself with his own product. When Syd finds himself infected with a virus that killed his obsession; celebrity Hannah Geist (Sarah Gordon), he must race to find answers and hopefully a cure.
The story itself isn’t that important, what is important to the film is the world. Truly, the Antiviral world, while seemingly unbelievable, has this undertow of celebrity obsession that feels all too real. People eat meat genetically created from celebrity DNA, skin grafts of artificial celeb skin allow a constant tactile connection and of course, the viruses. The images disturb and yet you can’t help but see that this is a potential future we could live to see.
The visuals, the world, the themes and the ideas are all very strong in this movie but I just didn’t give much of a damn about the character or the overall story. It’s a shame as there is a lot to chew on in this and maybe a more relatable character would have made me care about the story. In the end it was almost like a site seeing tour, I didn’t care much for the journey and just wanted to get to the awesome looking bits.
Antiviral is certainly not going to be to everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re wanting an in depth story then you should probably avoid this movie, however there is a lot to actually absorb here if you’re willing. Certainly this is a great starting point for Brandon and I’m at least interested in anything else he does from now on.