Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac, Brandon McGibbon, Simona Maicanescu, David Hewlett, and Abigail Chu
Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, Doug Taylor
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Drama
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Released: October 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Splice has gotten a lot of attention lately, after it was added to Netflix’s streaming service in the U.S. (in July, I believe). If you have noticed reviews popping up all over, that’s why. The reason I’m doing one now, is… well, it happened to come up next chronologically, and that’s how we roll here.
Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) are geneticists [and a couple], working with a pharmaceutical company to engineer new medications. Their goal is to blend various traits from different species, until a certain protein can be synthesized. So, they splice (hence the title) various genes in an attempt to achieve this.
The couple successfully make Ginger and Fred, a pair of creatures who… well… honestly look like deformed penises. Things start out promising for the pair and their company, N.E.R.D. Then, Elsa gets the idea to engineer more creatures, with human DNA added in this time.
After some small successes, things go a little sideways. Hopefully, I’ve avoided spoilers in this summation. If you feel otherwise, I apologize.
Adrien’s Role: Clive Nicoli
Adrien really nailed this character. He is a dedicated scientist, and slightly frustrated business/romantic partner of Polley’s Elsa. We see that Clive doesn’t often say, “no” to Elsa. In fact, his brother says exactly that to him.
Elsa’s complicated past may be partly to blame for Clive’s eggshell walking. She grew up in an abusive home with a mentally ill mother. Clive doesn’t want to upset Elsa, because she doesn’t handle that well. So, for most of the movie, she walks all over him.
Clive isn’t exactly the most moral person, and yet, somehow, he remains likable. Most of the time, anyway.
Clive’s Brother Gavin
The filmmakers drive home that Clive and Gavin (McGibbon) are brothers, by giving them slight tension, and a very similar haircut. Then, of course, the forced dialogue of, “hey, little brother,” that pretty much every movie featuring siblings has done.
Seriously, though, Brandon McGibbon does good work as Gavin. He’s a character who, to me, represents the audience. He is kind of the conscience of a group severely lacking in conscience. No one seems to have an inner Jiminy Cricket in this movie, except Gavin.
When we would be asking, “what the hell are you doing?,” so does he. Those ‘audience characters’ tend to be my favorite. If Adrien Brody weren’t in this movie, it might be true here, too. He’s a close second, though.
Dren, the creation with human DNA added, is actually pretty adorable as a newborn, and toddler. The effects and makeup teams did great work, as did little Abigail Chu (as toddler and preschool-ish stage Dren). She brought the qualities of a child to a character who may have otherwise lacked a human element. Making Dren a hybrid of live action, practical effects, and special effects was quite brilliant.
Dren as an adult female is quite striking. Delphine Chanéac worked wonders with the character, making her both terrifying and endearing at the same time. You feel badly for her when certain things happen, and even root for her at times. At times.
Splice begs the age-old question: how far should science go? Just because you figure out how to accomplish something, does that mean it should be done? At the end of the day, I think Splice serves as a cautionary tale, telling us some things should be left alone.
Movie Overall: 6.5/10
Brody Performance: 7.5/10