There’s a sure sort of dystopian sci-fi that turns up in Sundance each few years, a type 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 Subsequent part, matches 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 type of lo-fi companion piece to Don’t Fear 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 need to see him once more.
Going down in what may 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 digicam about his life’s work: a serum referred to as Divinity that can prolong life for all eternity. That is up to now; within the current, his son Jaxxon (Dorff) is having intercourse with a fantastic girl, unaware that two pods have landed outdoors.
The pods comprise 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 placing Nikita (Karrueche Tran), and, maybe extra urgently, has organized a party for himself with dozens of visitors, the brothers set about pumping him with big, life-threatening doses of his father’s serum. Fairly why the brothers are doing that is left obscure till the top; within the meantime, Dorff rants and raves underneath 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.
Regardless of its futuristic trappings, Divinity echoes a lot concerning the previous, and the world it’s set in is bombarded with insane TV commercials, fetishizing robust, wholesome our bodies, promoting hazardous-looking masturbation aids, and promising free samples of Jaxxon’s serum with breakfast cereal. This unnatural world of immediate gratification (“Larger! Stronger! Quicker!”) is counteracted by scenes of an ethereal soulful sisterhood whose function stays unclear till Nikita reveals that she is without doubt one of the “pure individuals” capable of give beginning: Divinity has induced a inhabitants downside, since most of this world’s inhabitants are actually sterile (“It’s both stay without end or give life. And most of the people select without end”).
It’s an extended slog to get thus far, and most audiences gained’t make it via the door within the first place. Cult connoisseurs, nevertheless, might be attracted by its intriguing aesthetic, which doesn’t a lot resemble the early work of David Lynch as Vileness Fat, the never-finished expressionist musical created by U.S. art-rock outfit The Residents within the ’70s. Movie festivals will give it a heat berth, the place its freaky finale —suppose Youngsters of Males however with a twist — will depart hipper audiences with loads to speak about.