The 27th March of 2020 is a good day, a decent day, a day to enjoy a fresh Jesse Eisenberg double feature - "Resistance" and "Vivarium". The latter proved to be an entertaining and thoughtful parable in the atmospheric and thematic traditions of "The Twilight Zone", yet not without its flaws and misses.
"Vivarium" is almost entirely based on a metaphor/s, a parable of an often-used theme, a story that knows what it wants to say but, despite a nice flow of inventiveness, can't keep it consistently substantial. The vert first minutes, the intro sequence, heavily foreshadows what ideas are to follow without even using any characters yet. Later on, there are points where the commentary is perhaps too obvious and spoon-fed. Rushed-in family-hood, the challenges of parenthood, ownership and more similar ideas are presented and worked into a dystopian, lab-rat-like environment. There's a decent dose of humor injected in it as well, the more grim kind. The movie plays off its cast's content and realistic little performances, a top-notch, eye-pleasing production design and various atmosphere-setting devices, trying to be an intriguing survival drama that's swimming around the surface while continuously hinting on a something deeper. The deeper never truly comes. "Vivarium" succeeds at being a drawn-out episode of what could be an anthology horror series, but as a full feature it lacks additional components. For the most part, it is enough with the presented themes, the distressing and messed up character's new routine and the fantastic, mysterious elements surrounding it, but... "Vivarium" has got style, but half-way through it slowly ceases to be enough & as a climax we receive... even more style. Basically, as far as atmosphere, special effects and indie arthouse creativity goes, "Vivarium" is a great little flick worth seeing, but chances of eventual underwhelment are there.
For anyone who loves oddball indies, mysterious concepts, metaphors, borderless creepiness and what people call "Twilight Zone-esque", "Vivarium" is a journey worth taking. Should it succeed, thoughts might be provoked. My rating: 7/10.
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