Sunday, 9 January 2011
Review - Splice
Always able and at times outstanding when impressing in films off the beaten track such as The Brothers Bloom and Hollywoodland but often entirely forgettable in big budget affairs such as King Kong. Adrien Brody, the youngest winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, has found himself in somewhat of a rut in recent times and seemingly unable to cement his place as one of Hollywood's big hitters. The past few years then must have truly frustrated him. A court case preventing the use of his image and name from Dario Argento's Giallo due to unpaid work being the most publicity the film received. Whilst his participation in the revival of the Predator series was received with such a lacklustre meh that even the "meh" seemed like too much effort when describing the response.
The chance to work with Vincenzo Natali of Cube cult status in a horror/thriller film about a pair of moral-boundary pushing biochemists messing around with odd homemade creatures that closely resemble infected bell-ends then can only have seemed an entirely reasonable idea. To quote the mantra of the film "What's the worst that could happen?".
Scientist couple Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) sick of playing with french-kissing blobs decide to spice things up by whacking a bit of human DNA into the equation. The result is Dren who is part-human, part-supermodel and part-kangaroo. Family drama ensues as Elsa takes to Dren as one of her own but as she grows rapidly the film turns from scientific horror satire to the downright hilarious.
"You never told me you own a farm?!" cries Clive to his girlfriend of 7 years as the Frankensteins decide where to hide their little monster. In an attempt to keep their offspring entertained during the lonely days the couple give her a few crayons and like most children she seems pretty happy drawing pictures of Adrien Brody all day. It is unclear how Freud would describe the issues contained in this film though it would be fair to say Oedipus and Electra have nothing on Dren. Desperately trying to bring back the scares, Natali includes moonlit forest pursuits and a touch more gore but the audience had been lost in the laughter long before.
Both Brody and Polley put in a decent enough shift where they are able to but are let down by the freefall in rationality their characters partake in. The film does have a select few moments that make it worth a watch and at least some sort of vision is there beneath the poorly devised script.
Hopefully for Brody it won't be a case of looking back on his career and thinking "What's the worse that could have happened?...Oh right, Splice"