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'Antiviral' review: Mostly just strange

Matt Pais, @mattpais

RedEye movie critic

April 18, 2013

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**1/2 (out of four)

Setting aside whether it should operate at all, TMZ’s editors absolutely should not be granted medical licenses. If they were, the world might turn out like the dystopia of “Antiviral,” in which celebrity obsession has gone so overboard that average people pay to have celebs’ viruses injected into them—a means of achieving “biological communion.”

I’m disappointed that this feature debut effort from writer-director Brandon Cronenberg (son of David, director of “Cosmopolis”) fails to follow through on its critique of a culture fixated on celebrity skin, from photo leaks to paparazzi-captured up-skirts. Instead, this bizarre sci-fi flick centers on a conspiracy investigation led by Syd (Caleb Landry Jones of “X-Men: First Class”), who gives himself an illness suffered by star Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) and discovers it might kill him. If weirdness was all that mattered—people in this society purchase steaks made from the cells of celebrities—“Antiviral” would be a must-see.

Instead, it’s merely a wonder to look at from a filmmaker who will do better next time.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

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