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Film Review: Vivarium
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Eanna Hardwicke, Jonathan Aris
This chilly and unsettling sci-fi allegory has been given an added prescience due to recent events. Teacher Gemma (Poots) and gardener Tom (Eisenberg), are a young couple looking to buy their first house. Dropping into a local estate agents, they are greeted by the creepily ingratiating agent Martin (Sherlock’s Jonathan Aris). Rather than run a mile, they allow him to escort them to ‘Yonder’ a vast suburb full of identical pastel green houses. Then Martin disappears and the couple find they are unable to leave. Later a child arrives in a cardboard box with a note enclosed stating they will be freed if they bring him up. Alarmingly, the baby very quickly grows up to be a little boy (Hardwicke) given to mocking imitations of his ‘parents’ and letting out piercing screams when he doesn’t get his way. This is a darkly humorous satire tackling uniformity, the unquestioning devotion to the daily grind and the nuclear family. The dour atmosphere and measured pacing won’t be too all tastes, but Poots and Eisenberg are suitably committed, and the design is great, all endless labyrinthine identikit streets and wilfully artificial looking clouds - imagine 50s suburbia as reimagined by Magritte.
Vivarium is available on Video On Demand from most digital platforms.