Astrology: Film: ‘Antiviral’ (2013)

IFC Midnight

The cult of celebrity provokes fans to want to eat, dress and live like their icons. Antiviral, written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, ups the ante considerably.

The movie is a wickedly smart paean to the Neptune archetype whose domain is seduction, addiction and merging that erases all boundaries between two entities. Antiviral’s futuristic setting is the Lucas Clinic where, for a price, clientele can be injected with celebrity viruses – through the technology, they’re copy-protected and no longer contagious – allowing clients to suffer the same illnesses and maladies as their pop culture idols. When it comes to the highest level of union between the clinic’s clients and the stars they worship, it just doesn’t get any better than intertwining at the cellular level.

Because of the high demand for these products, Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones), a cocky employee at the clinic who presents and suggests available microbial offerings to eager customers, has found a way to make some extra cash. He smuggles viruses out of the workplace by self-injecting them and, using illegally obtained virus-development hardware from Lucas, creates his own copies. Syd then sells his spin-off injectables to black marketeer Arvid (Joe Pingue), a butcher who also manufactures “cell steaks” from celebrity molecular material.

Not surprisingly, Syd eventually winds up in the middle of a situation he can’t control, involving celebrity du jour Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon). Hannah is gravely ill from a virus that might have been transmitted as part of an assassination attempt. And, before knowing the brutal underbelly behind Hannah’s sickness, Syd’s side business has provoked him to inject the virus that is killing her into himself.

His resulting hallucinations – which render Syd powerless to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not – belong to the realm of Neptune which fuzzes out everything that lands in its path, just as having celebrity material inside you distorts your true identity. Antiviral’s expansive, white, antiseptic design underscores that there’s no horizon here. In Neptune’s world, everything reduces to a mystical oneness, with death being the ultimate blur.

Astrology Film Rating: ♆ (Neptune)


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