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Splice

Submitted by admin on June 7, 2010 – 11:55 pmOne Comment
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Splice is about as wicked as science fiction gets. The film explores a childless couple (Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley), both biochemists, that create a new species under the noses of their corporate employer, and then raise the being as a sort of surrogate child. Splice works as a gripping thriller with sci-fi and horrific elements, with sequences that function as a parody of parenthood, as well as a cautionary tale of scientists playing God with life.

Brody and Polley bring conviction to their roles, and easily manage to convey the seriousness as well as the sardonic edge the roles require. An actor named Brandon McGibbon actually looks enough like Brody to rightly play his brother. A Canadian production, Splice was directed by Vincenzo Natali who previously made the cool if not claustrophobic thriller Cube. Natali plays with tone and mood very well, and even throws in point of view shots from the perspective of the creature. At times the whole tale seems like something David Cronenberg might’ve done in the 80s.

Eventually named Dren by Polley after showing a quick learning curve using Scrabble letters, the laboratory baby matures to an adult in just days and looks almost human from the waist up only with bird legs. There are some other genetic developments that generate surprises that help propel the story in weird areas.

As Splice progresses you begin to like Dren more and the scientists a lot less. Polley herself directed an acclaimed film about Alzheimer’s disease (Away From Her) and her character in Splice justifies tampering with life in order to find cures for such diseases. So it’s quite a character arc when she as well as Brody makes other moral choices that are downright dubious. Natch, their corporate sponsors are happy to obtain patents worth untold millions derived from this research no matter what ethical scruples are involved. Splice may very well give you the creeps even as it makes you think about your own feelings on the subject of cloning.

- Michael Bergeron

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