I think I must be growing up because you’d think Vivarium would be a movie I’d take to like a duck to water.
And initially I did, till I noticed something: the weirdness seemed to serve no point.
In my review I mention both The Prisoner (1967) and The Signal (2014), two series that did things similar to what Vivarium seems to be doing, only better because they both understood that all the strangeness has to be building toward something – I’m not including the last episode of the former, which was kinda daft – as opposed to being a cavalcade of weirdness, to no end.
A vivarium is a terrarium for small animals, and on the face of it it’s an apt title as we meet Sam (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots), who’re looking to buy their first home.
From that point on things get a bit daft, and for awhile that’s pretty interesting, till you realize the movie is not only not going to answer any of the questions it poses, but is going to add a few more to the queue.
Is it an alien invasion movie – perhaps the slowest invasion ever? Is it a metaphor for the anxiety of first-time home ownership? Is it a warning about the “Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes made of sticky tacky. Little boxes all the same?”
Is it a commentary on consumer habits, on how we all claim to be individual, yet seek sameness?
Vivarium could be lot of things, the problem being I have no idea what it actually is.