Monday, June 7, 2010


Director/Screenwriter Vincenzo Natali's Splice is an interesting examination of the ethics of genetic cloning and the consequences of doing so.  Canadian actress/director Sarah Polley plays Elsa and Oscar winner Adrien Brody plays Clive, and the two are a couple who work for scientific research company N.E.R.D.  They create genetic organisms via the splicing of different species of animals in the name of revolutionizing Science and Medicine.  Elsa however wants to take things a level further on her own accord, secretly incorporating human DNA into the mix.  She infuses her own genetics into the creation of a new hybrid organism, which Clive is against, but winds up aiding.

The experiment goes awry with the creature they create being born early and what results is Dren (Delphine Chanéac), a mysterious female part-human, part animal.  Maturing at an alarming rate, she grows to the human equivalent of 50 human years of age.  Despite Elsa's reassurance that she would not get emotionally invested in Dren, she fights for its survival against Clive's wishes.  Both uncertain whether or not the creature is in fact dangerous, their relationship becomes strained as they become preoccupied with both hiding their secret experiment from their employer and at the same time struggling to keep Dren alive as part of their groundbreaking work.

As is the case with humans, we experience emotions and Dren subsequently develops feelings towards Clive who becomes increasingly affectionate towards her.  Originally in the motherly, nurturing role, Elsa winds up taking on the role of Disciplinarian, becoming wrapped up in her personal attachment to the creature.  The order of nature is then confused as a disaster of Elektra proportions ensues.  And please do not be shocked to see some cross-species moments of intimacy.   You have been warned.

Splice very much takes a queue from classic The Fly which explores the concept of cross-species experimentation gone horrific.  "What's the worst that could happen?", Elsa asks at the beginning and end of the story.  Both Brody and Polley have a very natural chemistry on screen, becoming fully attached to their roles.  The story however does become unbelievable at points as we are expected to believe that this creature can spell and learn choreographed dancing.  But isn't that what Sci-Fi's all about?  The Warner Bros. film is now in wide release and is engaging enough.  Grade: B

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