Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adrien Brody Can Get Away With It

Starting this past weekend, I began to contribute film musings/reviews to the new website JadeHive. They cross posted my previous MoviePass entry, and I have now cross posted my latest entry FROM JadeHive to here:

Fair warning – This is not an average review.

I just finished watching Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice”, and while I do have some overall thoughts on the film itself, I would much rather discuss one specific scene from the film. A scene that has not only been stuck in my mind, but also fully summarizes the movie as a whole: Adrien Brody thrusting into a genetically engineered being.

Try and bear with me.

It should be well known to anybody with eyesight that Adrien Brody is sex. Not sexy, mind you. He IS sex. Everytime He appears on a screen, whether it’s as a confused mercenary in “Predators” or as a lounge singer in a Super Bowl commercial, the man develops a rather steamy relationship with the camera. With one look of sensual forlorn (which is inevitable), He can make women (and probably men) melt in their seats. His ‘male partner in a TV-MA shower commercial’ attitude works so well for him, He was able to not only makeout with Halle Berry on live television, but also get away with it! Good acting skills + Eye sex with camera = Adrien Brody.

So, how does the weird laboratory creature factor in?

In “Splice”, Adrien Brody stars as Clive, one half of a scientist couple who create new lifeforms in an attempt to harvest proteins for medical purposes. After their research is shutdown, Elsa(the other half of the couple, played by Sarah Polley) makes the decision to go ahead and experiment with a new lifeform, this time made with human DNA. The result is a female they name Dren, and Elsa immediately begins a maternal relationship with it, using the scientific research as an excuse. Clive is weary to continue, but soon warms up to Dren – comforting her and teaching her how to dance.

Of course, things have to take an odd turn: Elsa begins to act controlling and overbearing, pushing Dren to act more aggressive. It also becomes obvious that Dren is attracted to Clive, with her drawing pictures of his face, and seductively swimming in front of a camera. All of this leads to the sequence in question.

Now, I’m focused on this scene for two reasons. For one thing, the scene completely summarizes what the movie is about: bad parenting. The film is more about people who shouldn’t have kids than it is about science. It’s explained that Elsa had a very bad childhood. She’s apprehensive to the idea of becoming pregnant, but is all for creating a surrogate daughter inside a makeshift womb (adoption, in a way). She tries to be the mother she never had, but eventually becomes exactly what she hated. Clive is all for having a REAL child – not a human/animal hybrid. He is pretty cold to the creature at first(the unresponsive step dad), but begins to see bits of Elsa in Dren(“you look like your mother”), and eventually, after comforting Dren a few times, succumbs to her when she throws her nude self at him(rivalry with mother for affections of step dad/father issues?). Basically, the scene demonstrates that the scientists have crossed the line, both in science and in parenting (obviously).

And second is the casting of Adrien Brody. As I explained before, the man IS sex. When I first witnessed the scene, the only appropriate response for me was shocking laughter: the man who madeout with Halle Berry has seduced/has been seduced by a hybrid lab creature. When we watch a Hollywood sex scene, we expect to be titillated, not to be made uncomfortable. But because Adrien(who IS sex) performs this unusual scene in such a straight forward way(possibly imagining Penelope Cruz), we are left feeling a discomforting arousal. I have a feeling that the casting agent and even Director had a good chuckle, thinking about Adrien doing this scene. The only other actors I can think of possibly doing this would be Mickey Rourke and Matt Dillon, but I’m not sure if it would be the same.

I recommend this movie be screened to the very gullible, as the shock will cause great joy for the exhibitors. In conclusion, I leave you with a quote from the Director Vincenzo Natali:

“That scene was the reason I wanted to make the film and that’s why it’s such a miracle this film exists.”
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