WOMB review

Editor, Australia; Melbourne, Australia (@Kwenton)
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WOMB review
In a slightly alternate world not too far in the future a young girl called Rebecca (Ruby O.Fee) is embraced by Thomas (Tristan Christopher) her neighbor, in an undisclosed coastal town where she is staying with her grandfather. They bond and become close, but Rebecca leaves, only to return 12 years later (Eva Green) to find Thomas (Matt Smith) and reignite their complicated childhood romance. When Thomas is tragically killed, Rebecca utilizes modern technology to commit a heinous taboo of cloning Thomas and giving birth to him, and learns to live with her decision until the inevitable moment of truth arrives.

Right from the offset there is a quiet and unsettling atmosphere as the credits roll and Rebecca is heard discussing what has been; pay attention to this scene as it only makes the shocking finale even more startling. The majority of the film takes place in an isolated, quiet and desolate coastal town in a beach cabin seemingly in the middle of nowhere. This place is subject to the sounds of the local wildlife and weather. Rebecca's childhood is almost dreamlike; time passes and the camera is surgical in its analysis of her and Thomas and is thus very distant. Despite how warm her fond memories seem, every scene is given a chilling atmosphere and her seemingly innocent childhood has dark undertones.

As the film progresses it becomes clear that, in this void, the setting itself represents a womb as the characters mature there. Only Rebecca as lover and ultimately mother and Thomas are given undue attention, every other character acts as white noise or an untimely distraction.

Rebecca and Thomas' doomed romanticism, social ineptness and isolation in location are all very reminiscent of Romanek's clone drama Never Let Me Go and even Cunningham's Birth starring Nicole Kidman. Both are cold and calculating and treat the gift of life in a harsh and conflicted way.

Matt Smith as Thomas brings the eccentricity of his Doctor Who character to the screen but in a more warped man-boy sense and is ultimately brooding and unstable in its nature.
As Rebecca grows old and her son aka former lover grows into a man there is a lot of chaos that occurs as a side effect, which is ultimately ignored by Rebecca as she just observes, similarly to one who would not look away at a train wreck, except she herself has derailed it.

Womb is the most disturbing love story put to screen in recent years. It is endearing but seething with contempt and conflict, and the social taboo of extremely subtle incest makes this a polarizing experience, although more disturbing as it is almost acceptable given the complex nature of how it all came to be.

The insidious nature of the community is also briefly mentioned, another clone is met and Thomas tries to befriend her, but, hypocritically Rebecca keeps the truth from him and a new kind of prejudice emerges against clones. Whether there is something wrong with clones remains to be seen, but it is certainly hinted at, through some bizarre imagery and general despondency Thomas randomly exhibits to his mother Rebecca.

Eva Green gives her best performance yet as a conflicted mother and obsessed lover, passive in nature and ultimately full of sorrow and broken on the inside. The few scenes where her relationship with Thomas as her son begin to raise eye brows is the challenging balance of desperate sexuality and haunting longing and she pulls it off without feeling her actions should be flatly refused.

Matt smith, although kooky like the Doctor, gives a brave performance as a dual role of lover and son, in different time periods and succeeds in appearing as two different characters, although identical in appearance.

When the inevitable occurs, both leads give a heartbreaking and polarizing performance, and the film is still grounded by their extremely balanced roles, and the masterful direction which disturbs and shocks, and then there is the opening scene to think about once again which really brings the film to a sinister close.
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