Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Splice: Review

Now, if you were the Oscar winning team of Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley and you couldn't produce a sexier abomination of science than those two idiots from Weird Science.... you're movie is going to have problems.
Now I'm not saying this movie is bad, it just wasn't that pleasant to watch. Splice is about Clive and Elsa, two married genetic engineers who are working on crossing DNAs to create new life forms with medical cures for some big corporation to sell. But just out of the love of science, the two decided to cross these life form DNA with human DNA creating Dren. A really freaky looking monkey-bat-scorpion chick. Soon enough they develop a parent-daughter relationship with Dren but it soon becomes clear that they can't understand let alone contain this dangerous new creature they've brought into the world.
I'm not gonna talk much about Adrien Brody or Sarah Polley. We all know they are fantastic actors and they did work wonderfully together in this film. They made the film, with some of it's outlandish, what the fuck is this plot moments somewhat believable. The director was really really lucky he had those two to navigate this movie, cause it could have easily gone a mess.
I'm really on the fence with Splice. At some points I kinda like this movie, but there are some parts I really really loath. First off, this whole film is a homage to classic sci fi and monster flicks. Splice borrows heavy influences from classics like The Fly,  Rosemary's Baby, The Brood and Frankenstein. Get it? Clive and Elsa-Frankenstein Get it? Get it? Splice's directing and writing style also has a very Cronnenberg vibe to it as well, which is kinda cool. The director really knows his movies.
I have no problem with Splice paying respect to classics. It just didn't do it very well. It came off not so much as referencing or paying tribute as it was ripping off. There are scenes in this which can't talk about cause it'll spoil the film, where I just couldn't help but cringe and go, "Fuck no way, Did they just- yeah they did. C'mon!"
But one thing that I can't argue about this is that Splice is a really well written film. Given the pacing is a little slow, this movie really scars you. Splice crosses every ethical bound known to man. There are things that goes on in the film that is just flat out wrong. I'm sitting and watching this right, and the development between the three characters flow really well, really fast and really fucked up, that when it got to the final act of the movie, I was kinda rooting for Dren.
And yes, nothing captured the traumatizing experience of Splice better than Delphine Chaneac's portrayal of Dren. This is why I'm so split on this film. Cause on one side, I really feel bad for her. Born into a world as an abominationa and a life she doesn't fully understands. She damaged goods. She's a blemish. And you feel that from her performance, which is largely nonverbal role that requires a lot of pantomime and physicality, but she succeeds at establishing an emotional connection between the viewer and this fantastical character without ever becoming too silly or maudlin.
Then on the other side, I'm kinda freaked out by her. Because I know what she is. And what she is capable of. Now without all that make up, Chaneac's a pretty hot French model. But I just can't look at her without being scared for some reason. Weird.
Most disappointing was the final act of the film where I kinda felt the story ditched it's Cronnenberg inspiration and opted for the traditional monster movie ending. It goes from being a cerebral horror film to one of the "Look out! Run!!!" variety. An incredibly mediocre, lazy end to a film that could have stirred a lot of debate after.
But for all it's worth, Splice is in the better half of movies I've seen this year. Creepy, well acted and thought provoking. A memorable film.

RATING: 6.5/10

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