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Archive for July 26th, 2010

Splice

After a breakthrough splicing together several animals, genetic engineers Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) want to take things a stage further and introduce human DNA into the mix. After being refused permission by their financial backers the couple decide to do ahead regardless. Dren (Abigail Chu & Delphine Chanéac) the female creature that is created develops very quickly creating a range of challenges for Elsa and Clive.

Ten years ago the character Dr. Susan McCallister (Saffron Burrows) gave sharks heightened intelligence in a bid to cure Alzheimer’s, things did not end well in Deep Blue Sea, why should they be any different in Splice! As the relationships develop we learn a little about Elsa’s unhappy upbringing, this soon has an impact on the way she interacts with Dren. I had read before seeing the movie that the two main characters borrow their names from actors from Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (Colin Clive & Elsa Lanchester), this gives a great insight into the dynamic of the movie. The real question is who is the real monster? The one that is created or the people who created it. Elsa & Clive’s relationship to Dren is very different to Frankenstein’s relationship to his monster often making for a more sinister movie.

As a fan of writer/director Vincenzo Natali’s first two movies, Cube (1997) and Cypher (2002) I was hugely excited to see what he would do with the concept of this movie. To add to this Sarah Polley has been nothing short of sensational in even the most mundane of her roles. The darling of indie movies for the past decade her occasional moves towards the mainstream are always welcome (and in my book to be blacklisted by Disney is a greater achievement than winning an Oscar!). As much as I enjoyed the movie ultimately it was a little too disjointed to be a really good film.

The movie starts and ends with the morel question of the right and wrong of genetic engineering without the cliché of “playing god” coming up. It does lose its way a couple of times and lives up to its name in that it feels like a the third act from a different movie was spliced onto the more measured and thoughtful build-up. Overall the film does work despite its problems thanks to an suitable if predicable ending.

Three Stars out of Five

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