Director Lorcan Finnegan’s “Vivarium” is a psychological fever dream that keeps viewers guessing from beginning to end.
“Vivarium” is a science-fiction psychological thriller that stars Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg as Gemma and Tom, a young couple who become trapped in a seemingly otherworldly reality. The term “vivarium” is an appropriate title for this film, considering it refers to a “container” that is meant to hold subjects for observation.
This film, while slow at parts, genuinely keeps the audience guessing as to who is responsible for the characters’ capture, why they are being held there, and, most importantly, whether they will escape.
Eisenberg described “Vivarium” best when he spoke at ISU AfterDark in February.
“It’s like an art film version of ‘Black Mirror,'" Eisenberg said.
The climax of this film is clearly meant to leave food for thought for the audience. There isn’t meant to be a clear-cut answer to everything that is going on. A book that is introduced within the last 20 minutes or so of the movie is written in a seemingly alien language and is never specifically referred to again. This is only followed by the dizzying apex of the film, which appears to take references from 2010’s “Inception” and even 1997’s “Perfect Blue," with its staggered lines between realities.
The slowest parts of this film are definitely its downfall. There are moments where viewers learn to expect what happens due to the repetitiveness of the characters’ situation. Luckily, almost as soon as this feeling of familiarity and boredom hits, a new element is thrown into the plot that gets the viewers theorizing all over again. “Vivarium” is a niche film that will satisfy any viewers' urge to ponder a movie for days after watching.
“Vivarium” is available to watch on Amazon Video and YouTube Movies.
Final Verdict: 8/10