Brandon Cronenberg’s ANTIVIRAL made its North American Premiere at TIFF and now comes to Austin for Fantastic Fest 2012!
Starring Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Douglas Smith, Malcolm McDowell
The debut film from Brandon Cronenberg is a prescient and chilling vision of a dystopian future where celebrity obsession has gone to literally sick extremes.
Brandon Cronenberg’s striking body-horror debut is a prescient and chilling vision of our cultural obsession with celebrity. In a dystopian future world, Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) works at the Lucas Clinic, which has an unusual and highly profitable line of business: deliberately infecting paying customers with diseases harvested from top celebrities, thus providing a “biological communion” between stars and fans.
Though his work environment is tightly monitored, Syd manages to sneak viruses out of the office and retool them on his personal console for his lucrative sideline supplying the black-market disease trade. When Syd is tasked by his employer to collect a virus from starlet Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon), he is unable to resist the temptation to get closer to one of his own personal celebrity obsessions. Injecting the virus into his own bloodstream, Syd is launched down a dangerous path — and the stakes are raised even higher when he learns that Hannah’s illness is potentially fatal.
Coolly stylized and laced with dark comedy, Antiviral immerses us in the contrasting textures of its vividly realized future, from the blindingly white, clinical spaces of the laboratory and Syd’s apartment, to the baroque decadence of Hannah’s luxurious world, to the grimy and sinister underworld of the black market. Cronenberg lets his imagination run riot as he takes his sardonic vision to its logically extreme end. In this literally sick, fame-fixated world, everything from celebrity infections to celebrity steaks (prime cuts of human beef grown from the cells of stars) are on the market.
Cronenberg has found ideal specimens for this baleful experiment in his two leads: Jones, steadily deteriorating throughout the film as the disease eats its way through Syd’s frail body, gives a vividly physical performance, while the porcelain-skinned Gadon is the quintessential Hitchcockian icy blond as Hannah, who takes the term “object of desire” to its commodified extreme. Gruesomely absurd and incisive, Antiviral is a visceral satire on our contemporary society of the spectacle.
TRT: 108 minutes Country: Canada Language: English