Wednesday, October 20, 2010

London Film Fest 2010 Day 8 - WOMB

WOMB is a beautifully photographed, beautifully acted, deeply painful movie about an unboundaried relationship between a mother and son. Its entire run-time is basically a wince-inducingly uncomfortable exploration of unconventional emotional relationships - and you emerge from the cinema desperate to breathe. Writer-director Benedek Fliegauf creates - with just a few subtle strokes - a world like our own but with one sci-fi touch - cloning is possible. This is a key idea, but is introduced only after half an hour, and while its ramifications are hinted at, this is not really a sci-fi movie at all. What the concept does is allow an exploration of psycho-sexual transgression. Eva Green - Queen of independent cinema's messed up young women - plays Rebecca. She is reunited with her childhood sweetheart Tommy (Matt Smith - TV's latest Doctor Who). When a car accident robs them of a future together she decides, against his mother's wishes, to birth his clone and raise him as her son - all the while keeping him ignorant of this fact so as not to open him up to prejudice against "copies". So follows a brutal tale of closely observed suppressed emotions. Eva Green is superb - as usual - in portraying the single-minded madness of the thwarted women who comes to confront her guilt - expressing all this complexity with a remarkable stillness. Lesley Manville and Peter White - as Tommy's mother and father - are also superb in small roles.  The atmosphere is morose, oppressive and sinister without relief.  The result is a superb film marred only by one directorial choice - not to have Eva Green age - something that bugged me and brought me out of the movie throughout the second half of the film.

WOMB played Toronto and London 2010. It was released earlier this year in Russia, Germany and Hungary. It goes on release in Singapore on August 11th.

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