Andrzej Zulawski's 'Possession' was one of the most controversial releases of the early 80s, even whilst it boasted a very well deserved Best Actress award at Cannes for Isabelle Adjani.
A nerve-shredding study of paranioa, claustrophobia and the complete disintegration of a family, all set against the backdrop of a gloomy and sterile Berlin, will not be a clarion call to the tastes of many, but this visceral and explicitly violent drama boasts superb camera work, art direction and some of the best performances of its actors' careers. The pace may begin a little slowly, but the viewer cannot help but be drawn in to this increasingly terrifying and disturbing nightmare.
Sam Neill, in one of his early roles, is a perfect smouldering foil for the almost screaming-pitch performance from his screen wife Isabelle Adjani. Indeed Adjani's extreme hysteria and physical degredations are almost too exhausting to watch, but it's a testament to her commitment and acting ability that she is able to sustain such a degree of intensity through much of the film's running time. The revelation of the 'dark secret' which lies at the core of her madness, and its gruesome aftermath, has much in common with the metaphorical body-horror genre of films a la Cronenberg which were popluar at the time, but 'Possession' stands out from the rest for taking the concept and its explicit representations much further than the rest....!
The blu-ray disc offers a wondefully pristine widescreen print, highlighting the stark sterility of the environment and lending the gore a whole new level of intensity. There are some great extras too, lending insights into the film's production and reception.
Be warned though - this is the full uncut version and there are at least two sequences which many will find hard to watch. Pregnant women should definitely think twice before entering Adjani's world!!!