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15 Apr 2020

Home Video Review: Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg Are Great in Satire-Thriller 'Vivarium'

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Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg in Vivarium. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg in Vivarium.

First-time homebuyers get hung up in a prospective house in Vivarium, a weird thriller from director Lorcan Finnegan.

Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) have a pleasant relationship and happy jobs—she’s a schoolteacher, and he’s a gardener. They decide to look for a house, and stop in at a small office manned by an extremely earnest salesman named Martin (Jonathan Aris). Martin invites the couple to immediately visit a model home in a nearby development; although they are slightly creeped out by his mannerisms, Gemma and Tom agree to accompany him.

Big mistake.

The model home turns out to be one house in a sea of identical, unoccupied houses—inside some sort of phantom, inescapable zone. After Martin unexpectedly leaves, the couple can’t find their way out; their path always leads back to the model home. With no choice, they eventually relent and inhabit the home. Regular food supplies show up as the couple makes futile attempts to escape.

One other thing: A baby boy is also delivered in a box. They are told they must raise the boy if they ever want to be free. They comply … and the kid is a little freak. Parenthood proves to be a tough task for the two.

The film is a decent piece of dark satire that winds up being a goof on the housing market, suburban life and general salesmanship, with Eisenberg and Poots delivering great work.

Vivarium is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

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