To talk about Vivarium is to ruin Vivarium. There are no spoilers in my review below, but if you’re even slightly intrigued, close this window and rush out to see it now.
Lorcan Finnegan directed and co-wrote the film, and he has a clear, masterful vision. The film is unlike others I’ve seen, yet manages to feel uncannily familiar to so much else. His sense of pacing is as perfect as the neighbourhood Vivarium is set in.
A young couple played by Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg head off to see a potential new home in a perfect new neighbourhood. What follows is a sad descent of madness and sorrow that tests the limits of their humanity. It’s a brilliant, simple, but oh so clever plot.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
For the most part, there are only ever three characters in the film at any one time. Poots shines and showcases every spectrum of the human condition, holding every scene together with a fragile resilience. Eisenberg has less to do, but is equally as good, and the pair truly do feel like a team. Senan Jennings as The Boy is utterly disturbing, and if I needed more reasons to not want children, he’s high up there.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Screaming. There is just so much screaming.
The design is perfect. Every detail is handpicked and every prop is important to the scene. Considering the majority of the film takes place in one of four locations, with no costume changes, they are able to capture the mood of every scene in the surroundings. The green will make you feel unsettled and nauseous, but you’ll also want to get your Barbie dream house back out.
Vivarium is a silent, eerie story that will stay with you. Finnegan carefully treads the line between nature and nurture and between care and fear. The film will stay with you, and I’ll be staying with Finnegan for the rest of his career.