Sunday, July 19, 2020


Movie Name: Vivarium
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris, Senan Jennings, Eanna Hardwicke
Genre: Mystery
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5 

Synopsis and Review:
"Vivarium" had its official debut at the Cannes Film Festival of 2019. The film follows the story of a young couple, comprised of Gemma and Tom, who are on the market for a new home. They visit the offices for a new subdivision, and the odd looking sales representative drives them to the house that is finished and ready to be lived in. The sub-division is odd looking, with the houses stretching for miles, and all exact replicas of one another. After walking through the house, Gemma and Tom realize Martin, the salesman, is gone. As they try to get out of the subdivision, they keep going back to the same house they just walked through. They try for the whole day, until the car runs out of gas. They end up sleeping in the house, and the following day they try to walk away from the subdivision, and yet they always find themselves in the exact same spot. They start receiving boxes with food, until one day they receive a box with a baby. The box states - raise the child and you'll be freed. The child grows very rapidly, but sounds odd, has strange behaviors that are driving Gemma and Tom to the brink of exhaustion. While smoking in the yard, Tom realizes that their terrain is artificial, and he starts digging, in the hopes that it leads to a possible exit.
"Vivarium" is director Lorcan Finnegan's follow up to his feature film debut, "Without Name". It's a film that utilizes the cuckoo metaphor that it showcases early on in the film, to build this surreal story of a couple lost in this reality, where they're prisoners and stuck with raising this entity who is devoid of any type of human emotion. It's a film that has some potential, yet never really dives into the creepiness of the creature itself (only showing glimpses of that towards the end), nor the disintegration of the relationship of the young couple. Both the surreal aspect of this story could've have been explored further, as could the humane aspect of it, namely focusing on how two young people react to the upheaval of their realities. It's a film that could have veered in the direction of a really interesting take on "Twilight Zone" or something more akin to Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but in the end, it just hasn't the ambition to go in either direction. In the end it's just an interesting exercise, supported by Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, both great actors, who bring the young couple to life, but then have very little to do with it. It had some potential, but it's not a memorable endeavor.