The Film Stage: Sundance Review: Divinity is a Cult Classic in the Making

On September 12, 2023
By Staff Writer

Divinity can best be described as a “brain trip,” a film that acts as an upgraded ’80s B-movie. Eddie Alcazar’s futuristic, violent drama follows two brothers as they hold a scientist, the man who helped invent an everlasting-life drug called Divinity, hostage in his mansion. At times it’s beautiful to watch, shot in a shadow-focused black-and-white and set amongst a deserted landscape recalling Mad Max. Other times it’s grotesque, highlighting the disgusting physical and financial greed of a drug that’s been flooded across the world. Always, Acalazar’s film is inventive and singular. 

Moises Arias and Jason Genao star as the two brothers, largely silent in these ever-present roles. Stephen Dorff portrays drugmaker and millionaire Jaxxon Pierce, the man responsible for so much of society’s excess. The three actors, along with a minimal supporting cast, do enough with Divinity‘s sparse script, willing to do whatever is needed. Alcazar’s script calls for various levels of intensity, and each of them are up for its severity. 

Alcazar’s chief goal with Divinity is the enveloping mood, plot mechanics becoming inconsequential in this world he’s created. Produced by Steven Soderbergh, the film uses practical effects to make its magic. It shows a world that’s been ravaged, different species of people fighting for the beginning or ending of immortality. It’s weighty without explanation, made for midnight audiences wanting to escape into a darker version of reality. But in all the bleakness cinematographer Danny Hiele, known for his work on popular music videos, shoots this land with elegance. This world is gorgeous for all its gluttony. 

Divinity has the makings of cult object, one a small audience will love and cherish. It’s packed with action, sex, nonsensical vibes, humanoid aliens, and inventively executed practical effects. The film and its characters look odd but compelling. This might not be a movie for everyone, but it cannot be faulted for la ack of creativity, vision, or effort. Alcazar perturbs and disturbs as he explores infertility, hypermasculinity, and the male God complex. 


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