Splice Review


Movie: Splice
By: The Stunted Boy Wonder
Date: April 9, 2011

Splice: a modern Frankenstein tale

Intelligent science fiction movies are rapidly becoming an endangered species. Science fiction has become synonymous with super heroes, horror or the supernatural. Will Splice remind us of science fiction true meaning?

No Species, no Alien

After watching this film I felt a little let down, initially. I had been expecting this cross between Species and Alien: a dark tense horror movie. What I got instead was a science fiction movie about a hipster gene-splitting couple maturing and pondering the ethical consequences of their work. After a moment’s digestion I realized I had just experienced a pretty good movie but the moment was almost spoiled by what is probably some dodgy movie marketing. The film is headed by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as the insufferably hip, science-celebrity couple who despite their young age can break through any genetics barrier overnight while still have time to flaunt the latest warez, chew gum and Skype Steve Jobs on their iPads. (I don’t think they actually did these exact things in the film, but I cannot be far off.) It reminded me of too many Michael Bay / Roland Emmerich flicks.

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Daughter of Frankenstein

The rest of the film is an interesting play on the classic Frankenstein movie. The slimy critter from the scientists artificial womb takes only weeks to grow into strangely sexual creature- unable to speak though and exhibiting many primal, animal characteristics. The problem is that Dren, as they call her, is hard to control and sometimes violent and savage. Also, they decided not to tell anyone of Dren’s creation, not even their labmates. They decide the secret can’t be kept in their lab, so they sneak her out to an abandoned farmhouse out of town. Polley’s character, meanwhile, has begun to develop maternal feelings for Dren; emotions that blind her to Dren’s animal nature. Brody’s character in the meantime is torn between loyalty to Polley, growing doubts about the significance of Dren’s existence and how they treat her more like a pet than a human. Dren’s continuing development as a creature signifies the hipster couple’s loosening grasp of control over the situation and over themselves. By the end of the movie, Dren has taken over control completely. Polley’s maternal urges are overshadowed by Dren’s physical superiority and her yearning for freedom away from the farmhouse. Brody’s growing role towards becoming a responsible and strong man are neutered by Dren’s sexuality.

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It’s in their DNA

Surprisingly, the films gets better after this: it turns out the first fifteen minutes of the movie were nothing more than a hamfisted attempt at showing the audience how naive and careless the couple is, before the much more involving coming-of-age story starts. Sandwiched between their passion to explore the frontiers of the scientifically possible and their bosses pressuring them to deliver more, faster, they let go of any ethical barriers and decide to inject the ovum of their biological sluglike creation with human DNA, specifically: Sarah Polley’s character’s DNA (Unbeknown to Brody’s character.) What is “born” shortly after is part human, part animal.

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In the end

The movie’s climax is somewhat dodgy and unrealistic, it feels a little stuck-on for effect. I guess that is why it’s a big-budget Hollywood flick instead of an arthouse movie. Ignoring the action-oriented ending and the somewhat mechanical start, Splice presents the attentive viewer with an interesting moral tale of parenthood.


3.5/5




SlashingThrough suggests:

Movie

Splice

Title

Splice

Director

Vincenzo Natali

Country

Unites States Of America

Year

2009

Cast

adrian brody, sarah polley, delphine Chanéac