Brandon Cronenberg seems to be following in his father’s footsteps with his debut film Antiviral, and that’s a good thing. There’s tampering with science, there’s infectious disease, there’s metamorphosis, and there’s warped psychology. Here’s a synopsis for Antiviral, which seems like it could have been a J.G. Ballard novel:
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.
I noticed a slightly clinical look to Antiviral, though not quite the same way as David’s movies. Maybe it’s because of the celebrity culture angle and the use of Apple-product white, which gives eveything a vibe of a plastic surgery suite. David’s early films, by contrast, gave off the vibe of a VD clinic.
Antiviral will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival and then reaches theaters on October 12th.[Via Quiet Earth, TIFF]