Brandon's Sundance 2010 Review: Vincenzo Natali's Splice
by Brandon Lee Tenney
January 23, 2010
When Vincenzo Natali introduced Splice -- his latest film after Nothing, Cyper, and his cult-smash Cube -- tonight at its world premiere, he simply said that this "film has no moral boundaries." Instead, it's probably more accurate to say that Splice has reset the moral boundary. This creature-feature is both an homage to and a worthy entry in the monster flick catalog. It's horrifying, mesmerizing, and always spine-tingling. There are images in Splice that will haunt my dreams. Some of them for very different reasons than you might expect. And that's the most entertaining piece of Splice; it's just so unexpectedly unimaginable.
In short, the film is about a couple, Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley), who work together as experimental bio-genetic engineers. They've spliced together various animal's genetic code in order to create a creature that is, genetically at least, perfect. But when the pharmaceutical corporation funding them wants to move forward and synthesize an enzyme that the creature produces, Clive and Elsa decide to take their research beyond the bleeding edge of their discipline while still trying to retain their own intimate relationship. And then it veers and swerves and twists and turns. What a trip.
Tonight I felt things that no movie has ever made me feel before. I've felt the heebie-jeebies before. I've been skeeved out and I've even had the prickly-icklies. But Splice managed to arouse some… uncomfortable emotions. A lot of them unquantifiable. Brody and Polley dive into the roles of Clive and Elsa so completely that whatever happens on screen is as good as real. The blend of practical makeup effects and CGI is remarkable. And there's even a scene that pays homage to one of the all time great monster films, Young Frankenstein. It's this love for monster flicks that oozes from the screen. Along with lots of other oozing.
Though the most mind boggling thing that Natali is able to do with this sublime film is tell a genuinely heartfelt love story and a pitch-perfect tale of new parenthood and even an oh-so-creepy female Oedipal bit. Of course, in the most perverted, subversive way imaginable. Fucked up is probably the best way to describe Splice. Fucked up in all the right ways.
Brandon's Sundance Rating: 9 out of 10
I saw the film last year at the Sitges Film Festival and went into the viewing with some hesitattion because the film had already been completed well over a year and half ago. I enjoyed it as well, but I can read from your article that they have re-edited it for the better. I am curious to see it again and recommend it for any one else. P.S. Adrian Brody, whom I am not the biggest fan of, was not too distracting from the film which is a complement.
Dirty Dutchman on Jan 23, 2010
"When Vincenzo Natali introduced his latest film Splice — and his first since the cult-smash Cube — ..." His first since Cube? What about Cypher? What about Nothing? Well, anyway, sounds like this is worth checking out.
Mark on Jan 23, 2010
This film sounds intressting aswell fasinating. 🙂
Cineprog on Jan 23, 2010
Any trailers ?
Tester on Jan 23, 2010
i agree this sounds interesting.
M on Jan 23, 2010
Tester on Jan 23, 2010
It is looks great. It refreshing to see another Sci-fi movie. Hopefully after 2009 and its Sci-fi sucess, the genre might have hit it stride and we will see sci-fi truely hit mainstream and see success like other predominate genres.
Lynx on Jan 23, 2010
Hopefully I'll see it sometime soon.
People's Champ on Jan 23, 2010
#2 - I was thinking the exact same thing. If you haven't seen Natali's other films you are really missing out. 'Nothing' is wonderful - one of my favourite films of the last decade. Completely different from Cypher and Cube, and very, very funny.
Mathieu on Jan 23, 2010
Splice (2009) Paris, je t'aime (2006) (segment "Quartier de la Madeleine") Getting Gilliam (2005) Nothing (2003) Cypher (2002) imdb.com Brandon, imdb.com....
David Banner on Jan 23, 2010
Just saw SPLICE at the Sundance Film Festival. In sum, adequate special effects, with the remainder of the film an incredible waste of the $26 million spent to make this movie. The dialogue was laughable, the storyline unintelligible, and the acting--despite coming from names such as Adrien Brody--painful at best. At the conclusion of the movie there was a Q&A session with the director, with the majority of the audience vacating the theater before the credits finished and not sticking around to hold the production staff to account for this stinkfest. The final scene of this movie finds the heroine impregnated by the gender-mnorping mutant, with her quipping "What's the worst that can happen?" The answer: A SEQUEL! Save your time (and cash) and avoid this movie at all costs.
Cary W. on Jan 25, 2010
I saw this film early last year in Toronto at a test screening, and it did not play well. I felt the entire film was a mess that all started at the script level. The effects were fine, and acting was okay at best, but the script was so absurd and the dialogue was pretty weak. The film's worst point comes from the fact that it goes on too long. The film has a really creepy and ridiculous moment that happens about 3/4s of the way in, and it never recovers, yet expects the audience to move on and accept it. No one in the audience forgot about that moment and began laughing for all the wrong reasons after that. I don't know how they could have fixed this in the editing when all the main problems came from the script level.
Conor on Jan 25, 2010
@ Cary W, before spoiling things, let people know u are... genius
ray on Jan 29, 2010
Cary W. Suggestion. Don't post here again...or if you do, and you're going to reveal the ending, at least have the common goddamn courtesy to put the word "SPOLIER" in GREAT BIG FUCKING LETTERS at the start of your post. Ass.
Frank N. Stein on Apr 3, 2010
New comments are no longer allowed on this post.