STUDIO: First Look Media
MSRP: $24.99
RUNNING TIME: 102 min.

The Pitch

“It’s Blade Runner with horny gods!”

The Humans

Thomas Kretschmann (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Karate Dog), Charlotte Rampling (Orca, Zardoz), Linda Hardy (Miss France)

The Nutshell

In the sleek New York of 2095, genetic manipulation has become widespread thanks to political machinations and a vast conglomerate called Eugenics, while a faction known as “the Spirit of Nikopol” has been rebelling against all this biological advancement. Meanwhile, a pyramid has inexplicably appeared in the sky near the metropolis, and the eagle-headed Egyptian god Horus emerges to hit the town. Peculiar cerulean-haired Jill (the lovely blue-nippled Linda Hardy) is discovered by a scientist (Rampling) who thinks she’s discovered a biological miracle within the girl’s lithe frame. A convict (Kretschmann) finds himself liberated from a hovering cryogenic prison, in the process losing a leg that’s replaced by a length of iron by Horus, the deity who then proceeds to leap in and out of the man’s body as a vessel to do his bidding. This convict just happens to be the corporate saboteur Nikopol, whose followers have been carrying on in his stead for decades (even though no one seems to recognize him). There’s also a cop on the trail of a serial killer, a shadowy cloaked figure who occasionally advises Jill, and a strange dimensional rift in Central Park.

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The Lowdown

As you can see from the story description, there’s a lot going on in Immortal (also known by its native title Immortel). It’s a challenging film, but not like Primer or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in that it requires the viewer to pay attention and occasionally think… more along the lines of Suicide Club or the endings to Takashi Miike movies, in that it’s compelling but ultimately doesn’t make much sense. Despite the fact that a lot of cryptic overlapping elements are introduced, director Enki Bilal (who adapts from his own graphic novels) seems to be in over his head with tying them together, assuming he even made such an attempt (it’s virtually impossible to tell, as despite its talky nature the film seemingly dispenses with things like narrative, logic and exposition). And ancient god Horus seems little more than a pompous asshole whose sole concern is to fornicate with the indigo-topped mutant babe, but (other than her odd hotness factor) we never really know why.

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Most of the secondary characters in Immortal are Final Fantasy-style CGI beings of suspect quality (the phrase “videogame cut-scene” comes to mind), and the limited human players are working in FX Land (as with Sky Captain and the Star Wars prequels, the actors perform in CG sets of varying quality). I suppose you could look at it from the perspective that the ambiguous computer-generated supporting cast are meant to symbolize and illustrate the extents of physiological modification in this future society, because both their appearances and motivations are otherwise not entirely convincing. There’s also a pair of red-skinned hammerhead shark assassins, one bipedal and another who flits and squirms across the faces of buildings in pursuit of Jill and Nikopol’s rail vehicle during the film’s sole action setpiece.

The whole movie ends up being visually stimulating, but almost needlessly perplexing, which considering the array of intriguing eye candy just makes it all the more frustrating.

6.6 out of 10