movie film review | chris tookey


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  Antiviral Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
3.00 /10
Caleb Landry-Jones, Sarah Gadon, Malcolm McDowell

Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Written by: Brandon Cronenberg

Released: 2013
Origin: Canada
Colour: C
Length: 106

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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David Cronenberg’s early films were full of fascinated repulsion from the human body and its fluids. His son Brandon seems to have caught the same bug.

Antiviral is a gruesome, dystopic and deeply unconvincing tale of a future where people are so obsessed with celebrities that they pay to have their viruses.

I’m not sure why, but the infected celebrities on sale are attractive females who behave like sado-masochistic prostitutes. “Do you want me to hurt myself?” breathes one of them seductively. “Do you want to see my body? I’ll do anything.”

The hero of the film, Syd March (Caleb Landry-Jones, pictured) is an employee at The Lucas Clinic, who smuggles celebrity viruses out in his own body and sells them on the black market. I suppose we are expected to be interested in this human weasel.

Properly set up with a believable historical context, this might have been a viable premise for a Minority Report-style sci-fi thriller, but no such effort is made. The narrative has such terrible pacing that Antiviral is more like an exceptionally wearisome, student attempt to be “art-house”.

Cronenberg is so obsessed with disease, gross-out perversity and the over-indulgent method-acting of his leading man that he forgets to make his tale credible, involving or even slightly interesting.

As social satire, it’s witless and astonishingly toothless; ironically for a film this gory, it never even threatens to draw blood.

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