Irish Director Lorcan Finnegan flew in to introduce his film,
Vivarium, at its
Australian premiere at Melbourne International Film Festival, and when he said
it was a “mind-bending” film, he wasn’t lying.
Vivarium opens with some of the creepiest credits I’ve
ever seen, before we are introduced to the two main characters, Gemma, played
here by Imogen Poots, and Tom, played by Jesse Eisenberg. Gemma and Tom are in
the market for a new home when they come across the office for the “Yonder”
development. Upon entering they are greeted by salesman Martin, played by
Jonathan Aris, in the creepiest role you’ll ever see. Martin tempts Gemma and
Tom to take a trip to Yonder to have a look at what’s on offer. While inspecting
home number nine, Martin leaves, trapping Gemma and Tom in the development.
From here on out Vivarium becomes a
slow-burning rollercoaster that does nothing but make you ask questions like
“What the hell is going on?”. It’s not all creepy though, with a fair share of
laughs to ease the creepiness.
An example of the creepy nature of Vivarium is the delivery of a baby boy in a box that Tom and Gemma
are forced to raise. It’s here that things really start to get tense. The boy,
played by Senan Jennings, is not normal, frequently mimicking Gemma ad Tom and
screaming whenever he doesn’t get his way. It’s – here’s that word again – extremely
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg give out some good
performances in Vivarium, nothing out
of the ordinary for either, they’re both very capable at their craft.
Eisenberg’s physical performance is great, as his body withers from the efforts
of trying to escape the development day in day out. He whimpers and groans with
every movement. Poots and Eisenberg have good chemistry, they’ve worked in
several movies together, and I think this has helped develop their on-screen
While Poots and Eisenberg are solid, the main performer that
really takes the cake is Jonathan Aris. His erratic movements and the way he
talks is genius, both of which helping create a screen presence that suggest
you should never buy a house from him, no matter how cheap it was. Senan
Jennings is utterly freaky, it probably helps his speech is distorted at times,
but regardless, he does incredibly well. As does Eanna Hardwicke, who plays the
boys, grown into a man. He does exactly what Senan does, he just adults it.
Cinematographer, credited as only McGregor, does a great job
at causing a claustrophobic feeling. Even though the pair are roaming in an
entire estate it feels like they have no space whatsoever. That feeling is
helped by the fact that every house in the estate is exactly the same. They
look the same, and they are the same colour – the most disgusting green, ever.
Lorcan Finnegan, who is also give a ‘story by’ credit, has
done a great job creating an interesting, very original film, along with writer
Garret Shanley that will leave you wondering why low budget Irish films like Vivarium
Hole in the Groundaren’t something you watch at least once a week.
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