Filip Jan Rymsza (director)
26 August 2021 (released)
06 September 2021
Richard Boca (Beau Knapp) reminded me very much of Ray Babbit in Rain Man where Dustin Hoffman’s character is a savant and a mathematical genius. We don’t know if Broca is a savant but he is mathematical genius who designs models that enable finances companies to make billons of transactions in seconds as well as billions of dollars.
Boca, as awkward socially as he is brilliant on a laptop, has made millions for himself and many more for his boss Edward (Olivier Martinez). He rarely celebrates this and on a rare outing to an office party Boca meets wine expert Lena (Charlotte Vega) who ends up going back to his very chic, expensive and grey concrete slabbed residence that takes a whole apartment block floor.
It’s a strange encounter where we learn that Boca’s study of honeybees led him to create the model they are currently using. Also, he doesn’t drink but collects wine for its value. When a bottle they open is corked he reacts in such a way that has Lena leaving the flat. What has also arrived with them into the flat is a mosquito that bit Richard at the party and is now making itself at home and breeding.
Richard has spotted a flaw in Honeybee and is trying to find a way to shore it up lest the system crash (the film set in 2007 just before the Wall Street crash) and ruin a lot of companies and fortunes. Richard’s colleagues aren’t that convinced and his boss Edward gives a bit more flexibility but not totally convinced. All the time the apartment is infested with mosquitos that taking their strength from Richard’s blood who is now sporting swellings on his face and body and falling apart within.
Directed (and co-written with Mario Zermeno) Filip Jan Rymsza there is a lot to admire in the Mosquito State as it looks fabulous with the blood reds of the skies outside the flat, the concrete slabbed interiors of Richard’s flat and the subtle effects of the mosquitos as they breed and take over. It also a resonating sound design with a perfect score by Cezary Skubiszweski that has the sound of the era plus the gloom of the person and surroundings.
What it is all about is another matter and the pacing doesn’t help here as it is quite slow. The clear metaphor are mosquitos as blood suckers and drainers that could be applied to Boca and his colleagues. This is reinforced as the film is split into the four stages of mosquito incubation and key to Boca’s new algorithm. What isn’t quite so clear is Boca’s motivation. He’s convinced his new algorithm is what is required and has started to seed it. But is this through some altruistic thought about saving the market and nullifying millions of peoples exposure to the crash or just himself?
The problem is that as a viewer you may not care very much either way. The character is not pleasant and he’s working in a widely despised industry. Lena could be seen as one of the exploited, she may get to go so the snazzy functions and flirt with that world but she isn’t part of it, she serves it. As such she should carry some sympathy, indeed she is taken advantage of late in the film it just doesn’t translate effectively.
Mosquito State is available on Shudder now.