June 4th, 2010

Forget Me Now

What a Splice Little Family

Contrary to the marketing, Splice is not a horror movie. It's a family film.

Well, not that kind of family film.

Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are a scientist couple working on creating hybrid creatures for a pharmaceutical company to harvest vital money-making/life-saving proteins. They've spliced together several different animals' DNA to generate wholly new organisms. Then they secretly add in some human DNA. Enter a creature Elsa names Dren.

The bulk of the film focuses on Clive and Elsa essentially raising a child. The metaphor is obvious but not heavy-handed. Elsa forms an attachment to the creature, whereas Clive wants to destroy her. The ethics are hazy since, as Elsa says, she's not human. Not entirely. They represent two sides of the debate while still being characters. Although Clive gets really annoying after a while.

Dren looks pretty amazing; I knew she was partially or completely CGI at points, but I couldn't tell. And she's just human enough to be sympathetic, but she still moves in a jerky, alien manner. Mostly, she's pretty adorable.

For most of the film's running time, it is a very compelling science-fiction film about a couple struggling with not only an ethical dilemma but also a strange creature they don't quite understand. Then it gets REALLY FUCKED-UP. The trailer claims that the movie goes places that movies have not gone before, and, okay, I've certainly never seen that before. Or that. Or that. This movie? Is the go-there movie.

These twisted developments don't really seem to fit within the framework of the metaphor and seem to be more about the shock value then adding to the story. It reminded me of the sudden left turn in Sunshine.

I think the moral and ethical dilemmas could have been more nuanced and explored a bit more, given the subject matter, and I think that if the movie was going to Go There, it should have meant more, but I really liked it and found it interesting and fascinating to watch. Clive, Elsa, and Dren are a fucked-up little family unit, but babies are parasites anyway, so how different is it, really?
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