Divinity Review

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Divinity is Eddie Alcazar’s fifth movie which is a peculiar mix of strange and propulsive. It’s a bit of retrofuturistic sci-fi, it’s also kind of a study on masculine form (in black and white), it’s got the kind of plot that you can only half describe on paper – but its oblique genre musings are presented in seductive, esoteric fashion that makes it impossible to look away from. Jaxxon Pierce (Stephen Dorff) is an inventor and marketer who creates an immortality serum that changes everything, but then he brings down upon himself the wrath of superhuman entities from… somewhere, sometime. Earth? A distant galaxy? Centuries in the future? Hard to tell. Divinity does not bother about such details, instead it is interested in issues related to modern anxieties over death. Sometimes these elements do not piece together, and they can be tough to interpret well but never tedious because of images you have seen put together this way before.

The scenes of the deceased Sterling Pierce, a scientist who lived long ago (played by Scott Bakula), provide a background on how he almost made it to the top only to be stopped short while looking for an avenue that would enable him design a chemical compound that would retard mental and physical aging. Most of this film is set over several decades after his sons Jaxxon, the business-minded one, and Rip, the bodybuilder (Michael O’Hearn) have perfected their father’s creation known as Divinity which became an international multinational corporation. However, it’s difficult to ascertain when exactly this story takes place given that Jaxxon’s opulent house has elements borrowed from various periods – mid-century modern furnishings combined with screens from 1980s and later technology. In fact, I thought it was an out-of-date movie due to its two groups of extraterrestrial humanoids who rarely interact but have different purposes.

In a white void there is a presence of mute stoic females in similar bodysuits concerned with earthly matters. Guided by Ziva (Bella Thorne) their motherly figure, they talk about saving fertile women who will join them since humanity seems to be heading towards infertility in this future scenario. Ziva appears like she has divine attributes and so does her family as well as the gentle rays that shine around them unless if these are women or aliens or even spirits that just keep talking without any meaning.

Meanwhile in Jaxxon’s remote mansion situated within vast deserts meteorites explode marking the advent of two young siblings; Moises Arias and Jason Genao). These eyes occasionally glare at once while their black vests appear uniformly worn across their arms appear wrapped with extremely long gloved tattoos around them. After reaching Jaxxon’s place they stun him using Star Trek-like weapons before ambiguously referring to his moral implications either created or yet-to-be enacted by him, through speaking in puzzles. (Similarly obscured: The enraging secret source of Divinity, which they discover in his lab.) Revenge means that the siblings link Jaxxon with very high constant levels of his own substance forcing him to undergo a hideous physical change that ironically underscores some of the dangerous notions of masculinity and unhealthy fascination with body image.

When Nikita, a prostitute hired by Jaxxon (Karrueche Tran), comes knocking on his door ahead of a birthday party that he plans for later that day, this film veers away from these half-baked science fiction ideas into food, dance and flesh – mutual seduction between her and the brothers has evolved into something more profound.

Although Divinity can be empty at times, calling it “style over substance” would be inaccurate. Each grainy, high-contrast 16mm composition contains style as substance and meaning: every shadow becomes a mystery as shot by cinematographer Danny Hiele. Sometimes the camera is unsteady making simple shots of people having fun lose their texture or drone shots over vast landscapes become distorted under its influence, although backed by an extremely clear night sky like out of dreamland.

Divinity is often associated with an eerie glow and its thumping soundtrack by DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill and Dean Hurley of Twin Peaks fame. Although the film can at times be self-indulgent – it is too obsessed with confusion that its characters become blank pages sometimes – Alcazar’s low-fi touches transform it from being what could have been a snobbish art house endurance into a delightful 86-minute genre flick throwback. It ends in a grand action scene, involving intricate prosthetics and stop-motion effects; the whole thing feels like an episode of the Twilight Zone about rebirth as told by Rod Serling after taking techno music and MDMA. It’s super lit.


An electrified genre piece that obscures meaning while having interesting visual texture Divinity has no equal in terms of how it conceives dystopia within science fiction, for good or ill. A pair of mysterious brothers use their supernatural abilities on the wealthy inventor of immortality serum, causing spiritual debauchery at end times.

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