Fantastic Fest 2023 ‘Divinity’ Review – Thrust-Thirsty Nonsense
A revolutionary serum called “Divinity” permanently slows aging and allows individuals to live forever. In a world where pregnancy and childbirth have become foreign concepts, and sex is nothing more than a recreational activity, the planet is now a rotting wasteland full of humanity plagued by horniness and uselessness.
Sterling Pierce (Scott Bakula) died creating the serum. His son Jaxxon (Stephen Dorff) now controls the manufacturing of Divinity and is on the verge of finally perfecting his father’s vision. However, two strange men — who have a different set of plans for potential immortality — show up and kidnap Jaxxon.
Divinity could be a better film. It mostly hides its low budget to the best of its abilities but fails to make any sense out of a mess of a story. Who or what these two men, who are brothers (played by Moises Arias and Jason Genao), are actually up to is never fully revealed. They don’t seem human, have crazy abilities, and may or may not be extraterrestrials. They also act like they’ve never seen a woman in person.
Despite Jaxxon already having a woman in his bedroom, he has ordered another for recreation. Nikita (Karrueche Tran) is a callgirl who becomes connected to the two black tanktop-wearing brothers. In Divinity, human existence has been reduced to looking good and fornicating with no strings attached. While this isn’t necessarily a waste, there’s nothing else going on in this world other than this battle for Divinity and when the next trip to the bedroom will be.
The dystopian sci-fi thriller is mostly people having sex for most of its 90-minute runtime. There’s a fair share of violence in there and two brothers walking around the desert with seemingly nothing to do and no hurry to get to their destination. There’s also a fascination with big, muscular, body-building type men. Divinity is trying to say something about vanity and human existence, but it doesn’t know what.
A group of women runs around in leotards looking for naked women to recruit and put leotards on them. They can go transparent and seemingly gather in a white setting; not of this world. Their sporadic appearances (they only appear at the beginning and end of the film) and questionable motives make their purpose confusingly unclear.
Dorff’s character has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde aspect, making this one of his more exciting roles. He starts as a man of science, simply wanting to finish his father’s work and make him proud. He slowly turns into this Elephant Man version of Frankenstein in a speedo, like Bane from Batman, but with much less clothing and indecipherable dialogue.
In between its moments of sex and ultra-violence, Divinity doesn’t have anything worthwhile to offer until its last ten minutes. The climactic fight at the end is a crazy blend of live-action and stop-motion, resulting in something extraordinary and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It is entirely up to you whether that unusually animated fight that sticks out far more than it should is worth sitting through the rest of the film.
Divinity is like Children of Men, and any or all of Madonna’s black and white music videos somehow had sex constantly but never made any sense or had anything to do before or afterward.
Stephen Dorff’s monstrous performance is intriguing, and the unbelievable stop-motion fight featured near the film’s end is a highlight. Overall, Divinity is this flesh-driven and monochrome chunk of thrust-thirsty nonsense.