Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Ah, ain't she cute?  Splice's DrenAh, ain't she cute? Splice's Dren
After the overblown silliness of 'Inception', it is refreshing to come across an honest-to-goodness sci-fi gem like 'Splice'. Basically a return to that old chestnut, 'Frankenstein', and all the better for that, it updates that myth for a 21st Century, post-Freudian, consumerist audience. And while Mary Shelley dwelt on the father figure to highlight parental anxieties in the Romantic male, Natali (director of the cult hit 'Cube' and the underrated 'Cypher') uses a couple to fill his 'mad scientist' role allowing him to tackle modern anxieties in both sexes.
In this take, cutting-edge genetic splicing is the means of creation. While not an original notion in itself, it's perfectly suited to the film's themes. As a result most of the action occurs in an industrial research outfit, a setting in line with a modern age where mad scientists simply don't have the resources to kit out their own labs. This leads to pragmatic problems when the transgressing scientists have to hide their forbidden research (using human DNA) from their employers.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play the hot shot scientists as rock stars (complete with flashy clothes and hip furnishings). When faced with having a kid they have to grow up fast and it's this uneasy development that allows Natali to lay bare many of the contradictions inherent in modern parenting. He has a lot of fun doing it and mixed in with the horror are some laugh out loud moments. One might quibble with some of the sexual stereotypes trotted out (it is exploring Freudian ideas after all), but the complexity and authenticity of the central couple's characterisation more than make up for this. And whatever way you look at it Dren is a captivating creation.
The Film Studies mob will be making a mountain out of the 'Inception' molehill for some time to come. If they bother looking in the right place though they'll see a much more culturally relevant patchwork right here.

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At 5:28 pm, Blogger Annabelle Lane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:30 pm, Blogger Annabelle Lane said...

So far, I love reading your blog but I have to severely disagree here. I never saw Inception but Splice was horrible. It focused too much on "going there" and being edgy than it did on actual character development or having a real message to it. They attempted with Sarah P's character but it failed. The only character with much development at all was the creature. Not to mention it was so predictable. Literally, I saw it with my friends and if it wasn't Jimmy leaning over to tell me "Hey bet this is gonna happen" and then it happening, it was me leaning over and saying "hey told you that was gonna happen"

sorry I deleted the first post, had a typo

At 11:59 pm, Blogger Niall said...

Wow, Annabelle, thanks for the comment! Where would we be without disagreement? Well, probably a lot better off, but it might be a bit boring. I guess I was looking at "Splice" more as part of a tradition than a standalone movie and from that point of view it definitely worked for me. One way or the other, it's great to hear you "usually" like my blog. Hope one quibble doesn't change your usual view. All the best.

At 9:36 pm, Blogger Annabelle Lane said...

ha, no I'm an argumentative person in general. My aunt actually calls me "mary" for the sake of Mary, Mary Quite Contrary because I have strong opinions on everything. But I never get hard feelings from disagreements, unless someone's opinion promotes hate, bigots, racists, etc. Definitely doesn't change my opinion on the blog.


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