There’s a sure sort of dystopian sci-fi that turns up in Sundance each few years, a form of ‘EPCOT on acid’ that causes a giant ripple then quickly fades away (see Escape From Tomorrow, a paranoid conspiracy thriller shot, guerrilla-style, in Disneyworld). Divinity, screening within the Next part, suits the invoice precisely, a unusual mad scientist film that, for all its makes an attempt to be arty, darkly satirical and out-there, finally ends up as a form of lo-fi companion piece to Don’t Worry Darling in its not-so-subtle skewering of American consumerism. Shot in grainy black and white, its chief draw is Stephen Dorff as you’ve by no means seen him earlier than, and can doubtless by no means wish to see him once more.
Taking place in what might simply move for a Playboy Mansion on the moon, the movie begins with footage of a scientist named Sterling Pierce (Quantum Leap icon Scott Bakula) speaking to digital camera about his life’s work: a serum known as Divinity that can lengthen life for all eternity. This is up to now; within the current, his son Jaxxon (Dorff) is having intercourse with a gorgeous girl, unaware that two pods have landed outdoors.
The pods include two brothers (or are they only one entity?), who tie Jaxxon to a chair whereas his panic-stricken accomplice runs screaming into the wilderness outdoors. Unaware that Jaxxon has booked one other escort for the night time, the hanging Nikita (Karrueche Tran), and, maybe extra urgently, has organized a party for himself with dozens of friends, the brothers set about pumping him with large, life-threatening doses of his father’s serum. Quite why the brothers are doing that is left obscure till the top; within the meantime, Dorff rants and raves beneath more and more thick and weird layers of make-up because the serum causes his flesh to mutate, his thoughts to soften, and his cranium to balloon.
Despite its futuristic trappings, Divinity echoes a lot concerning the previous, and the world it’s set in is bombarded with insane TV commercials, fetishizing sturdy, wholesome our bodies, promoting hazardous-looking masturbation aids, and promising free samples of Jaxxon’s serum with breakfast cereal. This unnatural world of on the spot gratification (“Bigger! Stronger! Faster!”) is counteracted by scenes of an ethereal soulful sisterhood whose objective stays unclear till Nikita reveals that she is likely one of the “pure folks” capable of give beginning: Divinity has brought about a inhabitants downside, since most of this world’s inhabitants are actually sterile (“It’s both stay ceaselessly or give life. And most individuals select ceaselessly”).
It’s an extended slog to get so far, and most audiences received’t make it via the door within the first place. Cult connoisseurs, nevertheless, will likely be attracted by its intriguing aesthetic, which doesn’t a lot resemble the early work of David Lynch as Vileness Fats, the never-finished expressionist musical created by U.S. art-rock outfit The Residents within the ’70s. Film festivals will give it a heat berth, the place its freaky finale —suppose Children of Men however with a twist — will depart hipper audiences with a lot to speak about.