“Divinity” has a good log-line: two twins (Jason Genoa and Moises Arias) crash into a dying Earth to stop a man named Jaxxon (Stephen Dorff) from making an immortality potion named Divinity, that his father (Scott Bakula) had worked on before dying. The potion promises its customers the ability to stop aging in the mind and body, but it’s revealed that the process also demands fetuses, which is bad news for a human civilization with a 97% infertility rate.
When the twins strike, imprisoning Jaxxon and pumping him with his shallow salvation juice, the side effects are monstrous. His head grows macho muscles over his eyes, and a Frankenstein arc begins. The special effects in “Divinity” are great, and so is Dorff’s performance in the process. With so much on its mind and in its aesthetic arsenal, this plot is overshadowed by more indulgent passages about the anti-salvation of Divinity. Such passages involve Jaxxon’s mega-buff brother (Michael O’Hearn) and his universe of skin, muscle, and conventional beauty.
Sometimes star power seems like an endorsement, and that’s certainly the effect here: its actors have their names flash in its intense opening credit sequences, and then they get to ham it up; they are in on “it,” whatever “it” is. A stern Bella Thorne plays a cult leader named Ziva; she is flanked by a coven of young women in white spandex, and a vessel for some of the story’s sanctimonious lines. Karreuche Tran’s docile Nikita may be the world’s only hope, though she is unaware of it when caught up in bed with the twins. Scott Bakula appears in flashbacks we mostly see from VHS clips, talking about his attempts to crack the formula for Divinity. This is just a taste of the always off-kilter world of Alcazar’s film, which fuses analog technology, modern architecture, and pessimistic futurism all together.
“Divinity” is a thoroughly alien film—apart from feeling like an a cinematic piece of outsider art, it speaks its own language. That makes it compelling but also confounding regarding what it wants to say—is it condemning machismo with its scenes of conventionally beautiful people who take Divinity or indulging in it? There are so many specific choices to this production, which is like an alien transmission to comment on all of society, including our value of superficial beauty or our selfishness with resources.