All posts tagged obsession

Womb: How to Nurture Obsession

Published May 27, 2013 by vfdpixie


Womb (2010, 1 hr 51 mins)

Wow!  I just watch a real mind bender.  As slow-moving as it was, Womb really eases you into a weird world of love, loss and yes, cloning.

In the not-so-distant future, a young Rebecca (Ruby O. Fee) meets a young Tommy (Tristan Christopher) during a stay at her Grandpa’s beach town home.  They become fast friends, running around a bleak beach side, until Rebecca has to move to Japan with her mother.  Tommy misses her send off at the ferry, and the two lose contact.  12 years later, Rebecca (Eva Green) returns to the town, and searches for Tommy (Dr. Who’s Matt Smith).  She finds him, and they quickly rekindle their friendship, much to the chagrin of Tommy’s new lover, Rose (Natalia Tena who plays Osha on Game of Thrones).  Their bond lasted over the years and they start a romance that is abruptly ended when Tommy is run down in a car accident.

Rebecca is distraught and comes up with a unique way to preserve Tommy’s memory.  After an initial objection by Tommy’s parents, they give their blessing and DNA, and she prepares to carry a cloned embryo of her lost love.   Her pregnancy is cocooned with a smug serenity, and after the birth, she raises Tommy-2 with the same protective ownership that she exhibited as a little girl when they were friends.  Cloning is not a received method of procreation however, and once her secret is revealed by a disgruntled Rose, who had seen Rebecca at the cloning lab, Rebecca is ostracized by the town’s mothers.  She retreats to an isolated beach cottage, and they live in relative seclusion until Tommy-2 becomes a young man.  Rebecca’s love has been defined until now, and the lines between maternal love and passion become blurred and distorted.  Tommy-2 brings home the giggly Monica (Hannah Murray), and they live with Rebecca; her watchful eye smouldering with jealousy as Tommy-2 enjoys young love.  Her obsessive love starts to worry Monica, and when Tommy-2’s grandmother/mother shows up unannounced, things fall apart.

From the handful of reviews I browsed, Womb got more pans than praise, but I actually liked this slow-moving, quiet film.  It reminded me of another movie that crossed the taboo line, Birth with Nicole Kidman; the story of  a woman who is lead to believe her husband is reincarnated in a 12 year old boy.  They were both eerie and made you wrap your head around notions of what is acceptable and what is considered sanity and selfish obsession.  I liked the subtle science fiction slant to Womb.  It wasn’t the only focus of the film, allowing the “what if?” aspect of cloning, lost love and the consequences to take the forefront.  I imagine that in the real world, this situation would have been banned by some sort of ethics or incest law, but it brings to question:  Was she just a womb, a mother, or a caretaker raising her lost love?

Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf was criticized for the lack of dialogue in the film (perhaps this was because it was his first film in English), but I felt the cast had the talent to convey emotion and the mood of each scene without much talk.  Matt Smith was brilliant as Tommy/Tommy-2 and it was great to see his range of acting aside from the quirky Doctor Who. I loved how Smith played up Tommy-2 almost remembering things but not quite, like the first Tommy’s memory still lingered in his DNA.  Eva Green played Rebecca with this subtle, creeping turmoil that reveals itself little-by-little.  My only issue with her character was the fact that she did not age that much.  Was this because in the future, aging is conquered? This point was never addressed.  I also liked Ruby O. Fee who played the young Rebecca.  She really captured the obsessiveness with young Tommy that carried through to adulthood.  She actually gave me the creeps a few times, especially when she watched young Tommy sleeping.

While not for everyone and not the perfect film, Womb is worth a watch for the slow burn creepy/eerie atmosphere and story that distorts the norms of love, science and sanity.

Most Memorable Line (and Scene):  Young Tommy-2 plays with  his “mother” Rebecca and they chase each other until young Tommy-2 wrestles her to the ground, holding her down.  “Now I can do whatever I want to you”, he says in a weird, menacing way, and Rebecca replies, “Go ahead…”, looking meaningfully into his eyes.  Yeah, that’s not creepy.   Not at all.

Who Needs An Autograph When You Can Get Celebrity Herpes?!!

Published April 24, 2013 by vfdpixie


Antiviral (2012, 1 hr 48 mins)

It’s pretty clear that with all the reality shows that make the obscure rich even richer and become a household name; and with all the gossip rags that give us the every move of every celebrity, society at large is overly obsessed with the rich and famous.  Brandon Cronenberg (the son of twisted director great David Cronenberg) brings us a surreal tale of obsession and deceit.  Antiviral is to me, a commentary on the parasitic, symbiotic relationship between celebrity their fans.

Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones), a sickly pale ginger of a man, is a consultant at the Lucas Celebrity Clinic.  He helps people choose viruses harvested from their favourite celebrities to infect themselves with, the most popular of them being the Clinic’s exclusive contract holder, actress Hannah Geist.  It is a brisk business, from the common cold to cancer, topping it off with “cell steaks”; meats made from cells of the rich and famous.  All of this insanity is commonplace, it’s not cannibalism, it’s justified by the fans wanting to “feel more connected to celebs and to enrich their lives.”  (This pixie is fine with an autographed 8×10.  Just sayin…)

Syd is also an entrepreneur of sorts, and infects himself with the latest viruses so he can resell them on the black market.  His latest conquest comes from Ms. Geist.  He is sent on a house call to collect her current illness, and promptly injects himself with it to get the jump on the best black market dollar.  Only problem is that this virus deadly, and she has reportedly succumbed to it.  So starts the weird journey of Syd and his quest for the cure.  He is caught up in a conspiracy and the truth about this virus.  It’s hybrid of deadly viruses created to perhaps assassinate Hannah.   Syd is enlisted by Hannah’s camp to find the cure, and he agrees, his main motivation being to stay alive.  Problem is, everyone wants the infected Syd.   All sorts of bad guys, looking to make a fast buck off of Hannah’s death and what courses through the veins of Syd’s scrawny body.

I’m going to make a prediction right here.  I predict that Antiviral will become a cult favorite.  I feel the young Cronenberg has a similar sensibility to his father.  This film had a Crash-like feel to it, with its stark, vulgar images that had their own unique beauty.  It is rumoured that all the injection scenes were real, and I thought they had an almost voyeuristic, fetish feel to them.  I actually loved the clean, clinical look of this film.  The starkness and the symmetry were great companions to the defined spaces within each setting.  It was juxtaposed with the gore which, while calculated, still seemed jarring with the clean lines.  Another fascinating detail was  the virus itself.  An apparatus called ReadyFace gave each virus an actual face as an identifier and a safeguard from replicating.  They were blurred, grotesque images, and I wondered if they were contorted from ecstasy, pain, terror, or a gleeful evil.  I also thought the use of Hannah Geist’s (Sarah Gadon) angelic face throughout the film drove home the point of idolization and a heightened sense of absurd perfection.

What I wished for this movie visually was a whisper of glitz.  I felt it needed a different type of lighting as most of the film’s colour seemed a touch flat, although shooting part of the movie in Hamilton, Ontario could be partially to blame for that (don’t hate, just relate.  Anyone who’s been to the Hammer knows what I’m talking about…it’s very, um, dystopian).  The pacing also needed to be sped up a bit.  I wondered when I first started watching it if I could get through it.  For all the blood and gore, it is a slow-moving exploration of obsession and in a way, immortality.

I really enjoyed the cast.  Malcolm McDowell is always taking risks and stays in the horror/sci-fi genre which I will always admire.  He was great as Dr. Abendroth-Syd’s guide for a cure.  Sheila McCarthy was a welcomed surprise as Hannah’s handler Dev Harvey, and a veteran Canadian actress that needs a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.  And lastly, Landry Jones was very effective with his eccentric, drooling/spewing rag doll portrayal of the ailing Syd.  Very cringe worthy.

If you can look past the pace, Anitviral is actually a pretty good film.  Definitely different and a great commentary on the general public’s incessant need for a piece of celebrity.

Most Memorable Line:  Owner of the clinic Dorian Lucas (Nicholas Campbell) justifies the use of his services by saying, “Celebrities are not people; they are group hallucinations.”  Deep!!  Something for late night pondering over a bag of Doritos and reality T.V. *eyes all swirly like I’m hypnotized*

Favourite Scene:  When Syd is desperately searching for a cure, he jumps his virus pusher, The Butcher, like a maniac.  They collect themselves, and the Butcher (Dan Wary-Smith) says, “You kind of caught me off guard.”  No, really?!!

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burke –verb (used with object), burked, burk·ing. to murder, as by suffocation, so as to sell the corpse to medical science

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