15 – 107mins – 2010
Written by: Benedek Fliegauf and Elizabeth Szasz
Directed by: Benedek Fliegauf
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Smith, Lesley Manville, Peter Wight, István Lénárt, Hannah Murray, Ruby O. Fee, Tristan Christopher, Jesse Hoffman, Natalie Tena
LIKE MOTHER LOVE SON
Hungarian writer-director Benedek Fliegauf’s English language debut is a brave but ultimately bonkers futuristic romance (of sorts) blighted by an overridingly distasteful central theme, dreary whitewashed ambience, turgid directing and unfathomable characterisation. Frankly, there’s not a great deal to like here.
Matt Smith’s success as the eleventh incarnation of the last Time Lord is, I can only assume, the sole reason this bizarre curio got a UK release. The title change (from the original Womb) and overt sci-fi leanings of the neon cover-art (despite the bleak “future” of the film being completely devoid of any techno aspects) seem to confirm this suspicion. It’s sneaky and nearly deceitful marketing, but it clearly shifts discs.
Art house go-to-gal Eva Green takes another questionable role as Rebecca, a woman who’s so obsessively smitten with her childhood friend that, following his tragic death in a roadside accident aged 20, she agrees to carry, give birth to and raise his clone – despite only re-entering his life for the first time in some twelve years.
Smith plays her deceased lover and sulky son, Tommy (told you it was bonkers), who she has deceived about his true identity since his (re-)birth. Tommy’s grieving mother is, understandably, dead against her son being cloned, yet Rebecca goes along with the controversial life-long commitment regardless, choosing to move into a tiny isolated beach hut where society won’t judge her and she can grow increasingly jealous of any proper relationships he forms.
Fliegauf aims for profound and intellectually stimulating but comes off as glum, talky and just plain disturbing. He lingers his camera on close-up profiles of the emotionally bedraggled actors for far too long, no doubt in the hope that we will share in their creepy incestuous predicament, but we’re just left infuriated by the snail’s pace of a drama which could desperately do with a severe edit.
In a CR@B Shell: Over-long, over-wrought, depressingly gloomy, mind-numbingly slow and – even though you don’t see anything – too stomach-churning to be even remotely engaging. Have I articulated my point lucidly enough yet? Even Matt Smith fans should not give birth to the idea of ever watching Clone.