11 May 2012

Movies: Womb

Womb (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1216520/

Sci-fi Drama/Romance

While nine-year old Rebecca is staying with her grandfather she meets ten-year old Thomas, a local boy. They develop a very deep friendship, but it ends too soon when Rebecca's mother secures a job in Tokyo and Rebecca moves there.  Thomas promises to see Rebecca off at the ferry, but doesn't make it. Rebecca leaves.
Twelve years later Rebecca returns to her now-dead grandfather's house and seeks out Thomas. His mother tells Rebecca where to find him. He quickly recognizes her and the years apart melt away and their relationship rekindles.  Later, when Thomas announces he has to go away for a couple days alone Rebecca insists on going with him. While driving down the road Rebecca asks Thomas to stop because she has to pee. As she walks in to the field she hears Thomas get out of the truck, then the screech of braking tires followed by a sickening thud. Thomas is dead.
Unable to let Thomas go again Rebecca clones Thomas, carries and gives birth his baby-clone and raises the clone as her own son, named Thomas.

So the sci-fi component is the human cloning bit, the romance component was the deep love Rebecca held for Thomas, and the drama component? That's Rebecca's raising the clone, the very mixed-up emotions she deals with while raising the clone, the ethics of human cloning, the repercussions in the prejudice the populace expresses against known clones, a whole bunch of other stuff.

Stars Eva Green as adult Rebecca. She was the awesome Morgan in "Camelot". Whether you liked or hated that show she was probably the best character in the series.  She was also Vesper Lynde in the Bond reboot "Casino Royale" and is in the upcoming "Dark Shadows" by Tim Burton, among other stuff.
Adult Thomas is played by Matt Smith, probably best known for being the eleventh (and current) Doctor in the BBC's Doctor Who series.

Even though I knew this was supposedly a romance film I watched this film specifically because I saw that Eva Green and Matt Smith were in it. As I've only seen Smith as the Doctor I wanted to see how he did in a non-Doctor role. Well, and I figured even if it is a romance film it is also a sci-fi film about some chick that clones her dead beloved, gives birth to that clone then raises it as her own child. If it was going to get all weird and twisted and probably go off in creepy reverse-Oedipal-land it'd be worth it.

The film's pacing is deliberate. By that I mean it will likely be perceived as slow. Lots of wide shots of seashore with people staring over the water. Lots of silences and looks by characters. But the silences speak volumes. So much more is said wordlessly and more effectively via body and facial meta-messages than straight-up exposition. Some events are completely set up, executed and explained without a word being said. Props to the cast for delivering their performances so well.

It's a nice break from the shoot-em up in space explosionfests that make up the bulk of sci-fi films these days, much in the same way that "Moon", "Never Let Me Go", "Another Earth" and "Gattaca" are all good examples of alternative sci-fi dramas.  And, for the record, if you haven't seen "Moon" or "Gattaca" I recommend 'em, even if you don't watch "Womb" or "Never Let Me Go" or "Another Earth".

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