An excellent exercise in suspension of disbelief
I really must stop paying attention to the IMDb ratings and user reviews. By now I should have learned what a lousy instrument they are to determine whether a movie is worth watching or not. Excellent movies are downrated to oblivion. Mediocre movies reach skyrocket levels for unknown reasons. There are so many factors at play – including political and religious views as well as expressions national pride, things that have very little to do with the quality of the film.
Splice from last year is one of those that has fallen victim to the mob that dominate the database. It got a rough treatment with an average rating of 6,0 and an abundance of 1/10 star reviews from people who claim that it’s about the worst movie they’ve ever seen. You know the complaints from other movies. It’s the usual tirades about how they wanted to walk out of the theatre and how they feel robbed of their ticket payment and their time. Their main complaint is that this film is nothing but a freak show, as immoral as it is unbelievable.
Poor guys. I can’t but pity them. What a boring life they must live, stuck in their own little neat box of moral standpoints, where nothing can exist that doesn’t fit exactly into their standards! And what suffering this deficiency of suspension of disbelief must put them through! It will surely limit their options. How many great, imaginative movies won’t they miss out? How few and how boring aren’t the films that will pass their requirement for realism? It must be boring to be them. Let’s hope that science will come up with a solution, some way to fix them. A magic pill.
Disturbing and charming
But let’s screw the haters and talk about Splice. I’m blessed with a decent ability to suspend my disbelief and I really loved this weird, disturbing, touching, funny and totally charming little piece of horror influenced science fiction.
My exercise in suspension started in the very beginning of the moive as I was introduced to the main characters, the young and successful scientists Clive and Elsa. While they worked for a company called N.E.R.D, this was about the last thing they looked like. I could have sworn that Adrien Brody was the lead guitarist in one of the bands I listened to at a rock festival last summer. And this was just the warm-up of a story that turned crazier and crazier with every minute.
Basically Splice is a modern take on the Frankenstein story. With the usage of advanced and illegal gene technology, Clive and Elsa create a new life form, which they hope will carry the key to a lot of the medical issues humans have. The experiment goes astray and the beautiful and mysterious creature Dren is born. Rather than killing her, which was their idea to begin with, they end up raising her in secrecy as a daughter. However problems will occur. This was maybe to be expected, but as the movie goes on, the plot gets more and more twisted and the end wasn’t like anything I could have imagined.
From disbelief to enjoyment
My initial reaction to it was a little bit grumpy and suspicious: “this REALLY feels like a second rate film”, but somehow I was pulled into that world and mindset. It was my old geeky science fiction fan roots coming up to the surface again I imagine. I ended up in a state of mind where I accepted whatever new idea or twist that was introduced. While there were some very creepy moments, reminding me of the creepiness of Aldomovar’s The Skin I live in, it was beautiful and fascinating at the same time. The director and screenwriter Vincenzo Natali has a vivid, not to say wild imagination, and I enjoyed seeing it coming alive with the help of special effects that by far exceeded what you could expect from a movie with a budget of this size.
According to an interview in the extras, he had been waiting for ten years to get the chance to do this movie. Well, I’m glad he finally got the chance to make it. He’s not only a talented and interesting film maker, he also seems to be a genuinly nice guy. I’m glad that I discovered this film after being pointed to it and I’m glad that I’m able to suspend my disbelief so I can enjoy this kind of movies without ruining them with questions and doubts. It’s a magical world.
Splice (Vincenzo Natali, CA, 2010) My rating: 4/5