Sunday, 17 October 2010

Splice review

Splice is about two young scientists who create a new creature with medical benefits by splicing the DNA of multiple organisms. However they are halted by their employers but decide secretly to take the work to the ‘next level’ and splice with human DNA just to prove to themselves they can do it. The splice works but the pair has a disagreement on its existence and find that they have to hide away the new creature. The creature begins to grow like a child but its behaviour begins to become uncontrollable and leaves the scientists fighting for their lives.
This film is a modern take of the idea of metamorphosis with the use of genetics as the reason and the idea of playing god. I enjoyed the film despite a fall of quality at the ending of the film the characters worked really well together due to them being a couple and this chemistry between them shaped up well in them becoming parental towards the creature. (This leading to Clive realising the true motive behind Elsa’s obsession of keeping dren alive)

The main highlight of the film has to be Delphine Chaneac’s performance as dren. The overall presentation is somewhat human with it acting childlike/teenage like towards punishment however with an excellent use of twitches of the head and movement it snaps us out of believing its human side revealing the creature-like characteristics. Film4 agrees and states: ‘As in all the best creature features, the creature itself - embodied extraordinarily by Delphine Chaneac and a panoply of weird CG enhancements - is utterly humanised, while the all-human characters are invested with some genuinely horrifying aberrations, so that we are never quite sure where to direct our sympathies or how to orient our moral judgements.’ (
Natali creates an impressive story exploring many themes and allegories. These allegories are key to the development of Clive and Elsa’s relationship but also to that of Elsa character on its own. Through the underlying story behind Elsa’s past it is touched upon a seemingly abusive childhood indicated when the couple step into Elsa’s childhood home and Clive says ‘I thought you said your mum kept your room the way it was’ to which Elsa emotionlessly replies ‘She did’. This feeds Elsa’s character into developing into an abuser of dren when the creature begins to disobey her orders. View London touches upon this and expresses ‘Polley and Brody are both terrific, delivering complex, edgy performances that are thrilling to watch – these are not perfect people, but you don't quite realise how messed up they are until it's too late, which makes for some superbly tense scenes’ .(
In this film Freud would have had a field day. The fact that both Clive and Elsa create the experiment immediately forces them into ‘parenthood’ of Dren as she develops. The film touches on the theories of Sigmund Freud in reference to the Oedipus complex and Electra complex, the idea of all children wishing to take the place of their own sex and take the place in affections of the parent of the opposite sex. When dren is a child Elsa mothers her giving her a lot of affection and support but as dren develops this changes because of drens sexual interest for Clive in which Elsa begins to punish and neglect her. Likewise, as dren becomes jealous of Elsa’s relationship with Clive she begins to show a violent side towards her in order to force her away and become the dominance in Clive’s affection. Clifford bugle agrees with this point and says: When Dren is a child Elsa gives her loads of affection and moral support, however once Dren grows to be an adult and shows a sexual desire for Clive Elsa turns coldly logical and unsympathetic. Likewise, once Dren is an adult she shows a growing animosity towards Elsa.’(

I enjoyed Splice I thought it was a good insight into a modern view of hybridisation with excellent themes and allegories underlying to progress the story and character development. It’s also a quick dig at the way parents are able to control different things of a child’s appearance before they are born via genetic manipulation as much like Elsa many people crave the control over nature to fit their own needs.

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