One of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. Good luck.
Possession is utterly incoherent. Andrzej Zulawski‘s 1981 film set in Berlin, West Germany (not the 2002 romance with Gwyneth Paltrow) is the kind of movie that manages to build a cult following not because it develops some subtle-yet-meaningful symbolism that only a few people “get”, but because it truly doesn’t make any sense. It’s incomprehensible; and that makes it cool. Even worse, it gets critical acclaim not because it’s a fantastic film, but because critics don’t want to have to admit that they have no idea what is going on.
Unfortunately, since Possession is an art house film we’re socially obligated to ignore the parts that don’t make sense. Instead, we’re supposed to step back and let the meaning come to us through its surrealism rather than trying to understand what is happening on a story level. It’s not about the story, it’s about art.
Fine. But if a message is going to be portrayed in story form, I’d prefer that story to be coherent. Even Beyond the Black Rainbow made some sense.
It’s not all bad though – the acting is fantastic. Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill express their characters’ disintegrating relationship with an amazing intensity. And while the mess of a story often left me wondering why Neill’s character was behaving in certain ways, I never doubted the behaviour itself.
5/10 – 2 points for Adjani, 2 points for Neill, and 1 point for the man with the pink socks