Womb (a.k.a. Clone), 2010.
Written and Directed by Benedek Fliegauf.
Starring Eva Green, Matt Smith, Lesley Manville, Peter Wight, Hannah Murray and István Lénárt.
A woman’s consuming love forces her to bear the clone of her dead beloved. From his infancy to manhood, she faces the unavoidable complexities of her controversial decision.
Easily the most disturbing film I’ve seen this year, the critically acclaimed Womb (or Clone on UK DVD releases) from Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf certainly doesn’t make for easy viewing.
I came into this film not really knowing what it was about, which was probably a good thing as the storytelling kept me in a permanent state of shock, all the while transfixed with the plot. Fliegauf chooses the German Baltic Coast in the north of the country for the backdrop for his story, and the vast endless landscapes of sea and sand really contribute to the almost suffocating feeling of isolation that imposes itself on the story and the characters. The lack of dialogue enhances this, as Eva Green and Matt Smith are forced to truly get into character in order to deliver their emotive performances. A difficult role for any actor would be Eva Green’s character, Rebecca, who is morally corrupted to say the least. Her grief and longing blinds her morality and she is forced to stare the consequences in the face on a daily basis. Some uncomfortable scenes include what can almost be described as sexual tension between herself and her ten year old son (played fantastically by the superb Tristan Christopher), and later her blatant jealousy when the now-older Tommy (played by Matt Smith) brings home a girlfriend.
Exploring the idea of grief and a clash between environmental awareness and new technology, Fliegauf’s film recognises that although Green and Smith’s characters have somewhat off-kilter moral compasses, it is still possible to find sympathy with them, though they make uncomfortable decisions. The Gattaca-esque premise of the film leads the audience to question themselves and what decisions they would make in similar situations. And this, against the stunning backdrop of the coastline creates a truly claustrophobic and riveting experience.
Not for the faint hearted, though. Reading a few forum posts, some viewers said that they had to turn it off due to the uncomfortable nature of the naked children, which they felt was borderline child pornography. I think it is necessary to give Fliegauf credit where it’s due, as Womb tackles disturbing content in a sensitive and artistic way.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★