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Jesse Eisenberg Satire Bites Off More Than It Can Chew

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots in Vivarium

International Critics’ Week

Feeling concurrently overstuffed and undercooked, Lorcan Finnegan’s “Vivarium” tries to ring a warning bell about, effectively, a number of issues. In the tip, although, it really works greatest as a cautionary story concerning the pitfalls of filmmakers biting off greater than they’ll chew.

Clearly a number of thought went into the movie, which premiered on Saturday within the Cannes Film Festival’s International Critic’s Week sidebar. The story of a younger couple trapped in a purgatorial pre-fab housing complicated, “Vivarium” tries to work as a consumerist satire, as an allegory about parenting and as a sci-fi thriller, however it by no means absolutely satisfies on anyone entrance.

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play a thirtysomething couple trying to make the leap into homeownership. On a lark, they comply with go to a pre-fab suburb someplace on the outskirts of city, largely to gawk on the models that seem like Monopoly homes painted within the uniquely unappealing shade of pea soup.

Only when it comes time to drop the laughs and head dwelling, they discover themselves unable to depart, driving in circles across the seemingly abandoned suburb till their automotive runs out of gasoline they usually determine to retire again to the home they toured for the night time.

The subsequent morning, a parcel arrives filled with individually packed meals merchandise and facilities; then one other parcel arrives the next day, this time containing a child and a notice: “Raise the child, and you’ll be freed.”

There’s a model of this that might work completely effectively as a comic book allegory, a Jorge Luis Borges-like riff on Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” the place the characters discover themselves in a not-so-beautiful-house, with a not-so-beautiful life, asking themselves, effectively, how did they get right here?

Another model of this movie may lean tougher into the human menagerie connotations of the title, foregrounding the extra overt sci-fi parts the script tries to bluster its means by.

Both variations could be completely fascinating, and each may make for a richer movie. But this hybrid finally ends up feeling like a bull session, throwing out promising avenues and attention-grabbing concepts with out ever sticking on any of them lengthy sufficient to contemplate their potential and see them by.

Which is just too dangerous, as a result of the movie engages from a technical perspective, with sharp manufacturing design that performs up the inherently alien plasticity of the ‘burbs, and the story is anchored by a particularly strong lead performance from Poots. Maybe it’s becoming, then, for a movie all concerning the parenting to encourage that almost all withering parental admonishment: We’re not mad at you, “Vivarium,” we’re simply dissatisfied.

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