A clinically precise piece of filmmaking, Filip Jan Rymsza’s Mosquito State is a psychological thriller which verges towards Cronenbergian body horror. Rymsza’s film is more than that though, it uses the 2007 financial crisis as a stepping-off point and manages to create a piece which takes place in the recent past but feels like it could be set a hundred years in the future.
Taking place in August 2007 (just before the financial recession), Mosquito State charts Wall Street data analyst Richard Boca’s (Beau Knapp) slow mental spiral after he is bitten by a mosquito. He begins to breed swarms of the insects in his apartment and starts to see patterns like those in his financial computer algorithms. His obsession with the mosquitos begins to take over his life and soon it becomes all consuming…
There’s more than a touch of David Cronenberg in Mosquito State. Co-written by Rymsza and Mario Zermeno, the film is a Wall Street body horror with plenty of atmosphere and strong visuals. Beau Knapp, Charlotte Vega and Olivier Martinez star in the film which was on the official selection of the Venice Film Festival in 2020 and was rightly awarded the Bisato d’Oro for Best Cinematography and Best Special Effects at the Sitges Film Festival 2020.
Slow moving and deliberate, Mosquito State is a film with glorious visuals. The set design is impeccable and the mosquito visual effects have a hypnotic effect on the viewer. It’s glorious to look at, creating a sense of order which ties into the personality of Knapp’s protagonist. It might be too cool for some viewers, but Mosquito State’s atmosphere works in pulling the audience into its off-beat narrative.
Beau Knapp’s delivers a captivating performance as the pattern obsessed analyst. It’s a role which he really inhabits, giving the character an emotional barrier and a series of physical ticks which ensure that Boca has a Quasimodo quality. Charlotte Vega’s enchanting performance as Lena, the waitress who comes into Richard’s orbit is the perfect counterpoint to this. Olivier Martinez also impresses at the Master of the Universe who uses Boca’s skills to line his pocket – after all, greed is good.
Filip Jan Rymsza comes from a producing background and he’s been involved in a variety of different projects – including helping to bring Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind to the screen. He creates a brilliant sense of atmosphere which makes Mosquito State more than just another thriller. There’s a serious artistry on display here,
Beautifully crafted and featuring strong performances, Mosquito State is a fascinating curiosity of a film which tries – and succeeds – to be different.