Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter

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What to expect from Splice is revealed at the very start as the production credits roll:

Guillermo Del Toro gave money - expect elaborate creature effects
Joel Silver gave money - expect gratuitous sex and violence
Canal+ gave money - expect a French-Canadian mime.

Splice concerns the offspring of two scientists; Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) (yes, I know); that was produced ex-utero. Fortunately Dren (as "she" is called) ages rapidly so we can see a fairly swift evolution from a creature effect to a French Canadian mime, instead of spending most of the film staring at a blastocyst.

Brody and Polley do what they can within the thinly etched strokes of their characters, "Dren" becomes a sympathetic character as we follow her from infancy into adolescence, and it looks like Splice might get away with saying some interesting things about scientific ethics and responsibility, on what it means to be alive.

But then Natali revs up the plot engine and jumps the film over a whole aquarium full of sharks. In one scene the tone changes from sub-Cronenberg to sub-Reitman, it was like watching the film kill itself in front of your eyes.

The film tries to recover after fatally shooting itself in the foot, attempting for a final scene of disturbing ambiguity but by that time it had completely exhausted the good will of the audience. My film buddy A. pointed out that the film could have survived had it possessed a sense of humour. Sadly, that was not to be.

If you're still curious (and there are so few attempts serious SF films recently, I can well understand) catch it on DVD - just, for your own sake, stop the film the moment Adrien Brody puts on the record.

Just stop the film there, and pretend the production ran out of money, you'll be doing yourself a favour.

And you'll still be able to look Adrien Brody in the eye, the next time you see him.

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see, now you've talked me into it! oh, wait... you were talking metaphorical sharks...

Have to say, the promotional stuff I saw looked like "An artist's view of science!" which is to say, it looked highly unlikely to provide an interesting comment on actual scientific ethics.

Edited at 2010-08-12 11:19 pm (UTC)

That's the frustrating thing about the film - you'd be a good audience for it because not only does it touch on scientific issues that are seldom dealt with in movie SF (like; who funds it? what is the research intended for, etc) but it deals with issues of parenthood. But then it decides to flush all credibility and goodwill down the toilet.

I highly recommend the Canadian series Regenesis that deals with bioethics in much more interesting and less sensational manner and appears to have people playing real scientists doing real scientific things. I can't recommend Splice, even though I'd like to.

Every review of this film I have seen or read seems to go "it's OK, I guess, quite enjoyable... then Adrien Brody puts the record on..."

(thanks for the correct spelling of Adrien)

Silly Hollywood people with unusual spellings in their names. I think the main reason I resented everybody liking Babylon 5 was because I had to learn to spell Straczynski.

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