Review in Brief: Vivarium (2019/20)

I hope you’re ready for cuckoo metaphors, a lot of cuckoo metaphors. The symbolism of VIVARIUM is so blatant at times that they probably didn’t need to show an actual cuckoo in the opening as well. Everything in the film is designed to put you on edge – uncanny valley houses, the same day looping around time after time, an eerie dubbed child sounding like he’s something else that hasn’t quite got the art of human speech down pat. Boxed domesticity. Domesticity, boxed.We haven’t seen any of the 98 days Tom (Jesse Eisenberg), Gemma (Imogen Poots) and the creepy Book of Mormon-looking kid (Senan Jennings) have spent together, but we know they say good morning by showing the finger. It’s a short film but it can still feel like a bit of a slog. There’s a wonderfully surreal final stretch – the aesthetic that was previously Magritte goes all Dali, but rarely does this make any kind of connection beyond the conceptual. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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