Another addition to the collection of movies where the characters find themselves trapped in one place, Vivarium takes and puts its players in a pastel-coloured suburban bubble. Director Lorcan Finnegan has managed to get Jesse Eisenberg (Tom) and Imogen Poots (Gemma) to play a young couple that is trying to figure out the mysterious boy-child and the neighbourhood where all the houses are alike. Where as the first 20 to 30 minutes is pretty and quirky fun, the writing doesn’t really get over the speed-bump for the rest of it.
Thank the heavens for some colours in a film in 2020. This year especially has been awfully dim and faded when it comes to visuals so seeing different shades of red, green and blue utilised is very much welcomed. Set decoration and art department are the most obvious beneficiaries from it, everything inside the house is rather pleasing. Eisenberg and Poots are both fine in their roles and they have enough chemistry to pass of as a couple living together. The boy, who is played in different ages by Senan Jennings and Eanna Hardwicke, isn’t the most difficult role technique-wise but both actors do alright job portraying him in a creepy fashion.
As mentioned, the first third/fourth of the film is extremely solid but then it starts to pretty much repeat its own scenes and it seems like it’s by accident. One character gets stuck to one action for an hour and another has some lines and scenes that bear no importance for what comes after. It’s just one of those where the story synopsis has just two sentences (enough for a short film) when you need to double that to have a compelling feature. I also meant it when I said that everything inside looks great because the outside is where there are some problems. The surroundings done with visual effects have been done better in other similar situations so it’s a bit distracting when you can see the lines between the blue screen and actors.
Smileys: Set & art design
Frowneys: Story, VFX
It’s not bad but 20 minutes isn’t enough for good either.