Womb (2010)

I pretty much should disqualify myself in reviewing this film from the start. There is no way I can make my review of this generalizable because my connection to this film is unique. You see, over two years ago (after this film was made but long before I heard of it), I wrote a script for a short film that hits on a few similar points to this story. For me, Womb had the potential to be amazing, if it felt like a realization of this story that was powerful enough for me to conceive, but it also had the potential to be an incredible disappointment if it failed to live up to what I felt the concept could do. I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I do think the script I put out is pretty stellar in measuring the mood and tone of the piece. Of course, the advantage of a short film (and an unfilmed one at that), is that you can tailor it however you want without the concerns of marketability or feature length demands.

I do think the requirement to flesh out the story to almost two hours hurts. Where my short film does the absolute minimum to establish a relevant bond between the main character and the romantic partner whom they would ultimately clone, Womb spends a great long time. This would work if it actually succeeded. The chemistry between Rebecca (Eva Green) and Thomas (Matt Smith) just doesn’t inspire belief in the depth of her loss that she seeks to replace in clone form. Frankly, after Doctor Who and this (along with a few other films), I’m just not sold on Smith as leading man (one capable of landing Green, Hannah Murray and Natalie Tena in one film even less).

The film also hits out in some rather strange directions. For about half a second it considers discrimination with clones as the target, but that builds to a minor plot point and is completely forgotten. Maybe my own film cheats by not considering a world where cloning of humans is actually done but it seems that by mentioning this aspect, it needs to build it more. This story has the genders reversed from my own, which maybe allows the film to be more overtly creepy in its incestuous tones. When you consider the prospect of raising as a child a clone of a past lover, there is going to be a natural tension relating to incest. One of the things that makes this idea tick is that there is a certain intimacy to a parental relationship that, taken into another context does appear more sinister. Rebecca fails so miserably at being maternal that there doesn’t seem to be a balance involved here. It can’t walk the fine line between the two and as such the film falls down.

I’m sure someone without my baggage coming into the film could enjoy it more, but I can’t help but look upon it with disappointment, if only with the slightest relief that there is a niche that my own short film can still fill and call its own without feeling reductive of something already in the market, similar premises or not.

2/5

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