Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play Tom and Gemma, a young couple looking for accommodation. Gemma is a schoolteacher and Tom a landscaper, so they’re not too smart. They are looking at a suburban housing development called Yonder.
The local agent is a guy by the name of Martin, who wears a white short-sleeved shirt and black tie and has a pale complexion and straight hair. Put him on formal wear and he could pass for one of the Overlook guests near the end of “The Shining”. When Gemma asks where Yonder is, he replies, “Pretty close. And far enough. Just the right distance. “
“Be careful, you two – you are about to enter a allegory!!! ”You can scream on the screen at this point. And Tom, sensing that something is wrong, lies to Martin that even if they would like to follow him there, the couple does not have a car. Gemma corrects it. And so they enter a large plot of land with identical houses, all painted in faded clover green. The interiors of each house are also bland, conformist. It gives Tom and Gemma goosebumps, of course, and they try to hunt. They quickly discover that they are trapped in a labyrinth. The one that looks like, from the roof of one of the identical houses, endless. And as Tom soon discovers, setting one of the houses on fire (hoping, among other things, to signal the outside world for help) is getting them nowhere.
Poots and Eisenberg, who first appeared a decade ago in Brian Koppelman’s “Solitary Man” remains an attractive couple on screen. Which is good, because for long periods, they are the only people in the film. Just when you’re wondering when another being could encroach on his anxiety, we do it: a baby. Whoever becomes perhaps the most relentlessly scary child to ever spoil a wedding or a movie screen.
Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, from a screenplay by Garret Shanley, “Vivarium” depicts Gemma and Tom who are increasingly unstuck, tormented by a tidy little boy who can speak in each of their voices. He also has other irritating traits.
The film develops its echoes of the classic television series “The Prisoner” with admirable determination. And his commitment to the inexorable horrors of his history is actually surprising. (The science fiction angle of the story is suggested by its title.) There is constant inventiveness – and somber humor – in this treatment of an apparently well-worn theme.
Classified R for themes, language, a brief nightmarish sexual representation. Duration: 1 hour 37 minutes. Rent or buy on iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.