Nasty Baby, 2015.
Directed by Sebastián Silva.
Starring Sebastián Silva, Tunde Adebimpe, Kristen Wiig and Reg E. Cathey.
Polly is looking to be the surrogate to her best friend Freddy and his partner Mo’s baby. Complications arise in both creating a life and taking one.
Think of a tap consistently dripping from its mouth. Think of a balloon slowly growing larger. You’re waiting for the mouth to turn from drips into a gushing stream and the balloon to eventually pop. Nasty Baby uses this to form its structure. Seemingly and at points menacingly bubbling along until it comes apart at the seams in the best possible way.
Kristen Wiig likes to pepper her comedy roles with a healthy dose of the dark. In Skeleton Twins she plays Bill Hader’s sister who attempts to commit suicide on the same day as her twin and their subsequent reunion. Wiig’s ability to switch between the two in almost a light switch manner is captivating to watch and normally a face full of as expression, you’re instantly drawn in when all is stripped back.
The ensemble here brings everything. Obscure in its characters actions and only ever fleetingly messy, we watch without ever really knowing what is happening next. This is Nasty Baby’s biggest strength and weakness. Yes, it was engrossing watching this unpredictable story, however for the majority of the first half I didn’t really feel tied to its characters or plot. The under the surface nature of the players and movie allowed it to breathe organically and the dread of something being around the corner kept me involved but only when shocked into it did I feel immersed.
Now the camera floats along nicely to heighten the pace of the lives it’s showing. Always well placed, director and star Sebastián Silva and cinematographer Sergio Armstrong work well to frame the action.
An interesting watch, with a dedicated cast and ever-increasing feeling of dread. Nasty Baby delivers in the closing moments, although the lead up to this occasionally falls flat. You never really feel their struggle or empathise with their predicament for the majority of the running time. You’ll have moments that have you questioning the motives and desires of Freddy and Polly, the latter wants the baby even though it’s never really explained why this is. Granted, we don’t need to know every facet of her mind, I was looking for a little bit more in regards what was driving her towards this goal.
Freddy’s B plot of him attempting to get his newest piece into a gallery felt out of place for me, never really leading anywhere and not contributing to the development of the character or movie. There is a bunch of aspects found here that are intriguing and possibly more that felt overblown. Reg E. Cathey turns in a great performance as the homophobic and unstable neighbour named The Bishop. Rough and raw but ultimately a brave and bold movie.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
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