Phoenix’s B-movie Review
With the recent 50th anniversary of Doctor Who I thought it only fitting to see if the Eleventh Doctor had committed any acts of ‘b-movie’, despite his young age and relatively short career I did happen upon one. ‘Womb’...an ominous tile. This is an independent flick staring Matt Smith and Eva Green.
All in all this actually wasn’t a terrible movie, certainly not in the same class of b-movie that I’m used to. It had the potential to actually be a great movie since it did have an interesting ethical concept. However what killed this movie? Pacing. There were whole scenes that consisted of long ‘artsy’ shots of random things, and other scenes of people just staring at one another with no dialogue.
The movie does not exactly start out ‘hopeful’ or ‘cheerful’ or even ‘colourful’. Literally the first few minutes are white titles on a dull gray background leading to a lonely little gray house on a gray beach, with a gray sky, to a Eva sitting on the pourch in a gray outfit. For a moment I start to wonder if this movie is secretly in black and white.
Scene cuts to a disturbing shot of two young kinds in bed together, the young boy sleeping while the young girl watches...very creeper. Sudden cut to the two kids out on the gray beach just staring at one another. Another sudden cut to the little girl laying in bed staring at her stomach. *Another* scene cut the little girl sitting under the house (the house is up on stilts so the high tide doesn’t take it away) while it pours down rain. The boy suddenly appears again and announces that he is ‘Tommy’ he’s eating a pear but drops it and dashes off when a group of older boys chase him away (we don’t find out why).
What we do find out in the next jump is that she has taken the pear and kept it (it’s all browned). She’s already proving to be a bit of an obsessive. Jumping again (I’m starting to get dizzy) the kids are back in bed and I’m starting to feel a little on the strange side watching this. I’m not used to watching seemingly endless jump scenes of children being oddly inappropriate with one another. This time he is watching her sleep, but when the scene cuts again (scene cuts happen about ever two minutes) she’s watching him sleep and she continues her creepier status by running her fingers along his exposed ribs. I’m sorry but back when I was six I didn’t spend *any* time watching anyone sleep and I certainly wasn’t caressing anyone’s ribs.
Time for another jump, the kids are using a magnifying glass to inspect Rebecca’s grandfather’s hand. He is sleeping in a chair, further nailing in the theme of people watching other people while they sleep. The scene jumps once again and suddenly they are adults and they are getting ready for a trip...what takes me a moment to understand is the fact that the scene didn’t jump again the whole disk has skipped. With all the leap abouts it took me a good five minutes to realize that I wasn’t supposed to just understand what was happening.
After cleaning the fingerprints off the disk and starting the scene again Rebecca and Tommy are watching a snail while she tells him that she’s moving to Tokyo, as in Japan. The pair seem to be devastated. This time when it jumps to her returning to empty gray house on the beach with her as an adult I’m fairly certain that it hasn’t skipped and that this is where we are supposed to be.
Have I mentioned yet that we’ve had three scenes with Rebecca lounging in a bath tub full of milky white water? Well we have and now that she has returned as an adult her first order of business is a random bathtub with white water scene. So Rebecca goes to hunt down Tommy (who has grown to be Matt Smith) and when she finds his sea side shack with the door open she just wanders in uninvited and stares at the woman who is (you guessed it) lying in bed when Tommy walks in and there is a very awkward scene where Tommy staring at Rebecca and Rebecca staring at Tommy while the girlfriend tries to ask who Rebecca is and gets completely ignored by them both. Now that Rebecca is back Tommy has *instantly* lost interest in his girlfriend and as he and Rebecca continue to eye-rape one another she eventually gets pissed and leaves. Tommy could careless I expected him to say ‘GTFO’.
Scene jump! Rebecca and Tommy are bundled up in sweaters sitting on the beach together. Rebecca asks if the girl is his girlfriend and in response he stands up, strips down naked, and then runs into the Atlantic Ocean. Very reasonable response. He makes the kind of sound one would expect of a man who has just run sensitive bits first into the North Atlantic Ocean. Here’s to hopping that someone had a warm towel and perhaps some hot tea waiting for him when he got back. If that was water was even 40 degrees I’d be surprised, probably closer to 30. In either case I’m sure his kidneys had new friends for a few days.
A few more awkward two minute scenes of them together doing random things, eating dinner, running on the beach. Then back to the bedroom where Tommy tells Rebecca what he does for a living. He’s a militant environmental activist. He breeds and raises cockroaches to dump into mini-malls to cause ‘mass hysteria’. I’m not too clear on how it helps his cause or the environment to release roaches into public places but there you have it. Not sure what the pay-grade would be on that either.
So Rebecca decides to join him on his raid in releasing roaching into department stores. They pack up a jeep with six sacks of roaches and head off down a long straight desolate road. On the way Rebecca informs him she needs to pee. So he pulls over. While she is off in the brush having a tinkle Tommy gets out of the car and is somehow struck by a car.
The driver doesn’t stop, and rather than going to his aid (honestly he may have still been alive, there wasn’t much blood and although his leg looked broken the last time I checked doctors were fairly good at mending that sort of thing). No, instead she just gets back in the car and stares forward.
After the funeral that’s when things get really weird. Rebecca (who is a software developer and has *no* connection to cloning or medicine) asks Tommy’s parents if she can have their permission and Tommy’s DNA so that she can have him cloned and carry him as her child. Tommy’s mother is appalled and she should be. About the last thing I think I would ever ask of a grieving mother is if I could have her son as my own.
Although the mother says ‘no’, the father comes back to Rebecca with the permission forms filled out. Now begins a twenty year cycle of some very bizarre parenting and psychological scaring for the now reborn ‘Tommy’ (and yes she names him Tommy). One moment Rebecca treats in like a son, the next like her long lost...hmmm...well it’s never really clear if Tommy and her were true lovers or not. From the pacing it seems like they really only got a few days together in their adulthood.
Anyway. Baby Tommy turns into six year old Tommy again and he has one friend in this world, a young girl. When his mother learns that the little girl is a ‘copy’ from some other disapproving parents it comes to light that clones are not socially acceptable. Tommy doesn’t know he’s a clone and he doesn’t understand when his mother moves him away from the only person other than her that he has a connection with to go live back in the desolate beach house where this all started.
Raised in a social prison with his emotionally abusive mother who keeps him much too close (during a very uncomfortable scene he recites some homework to her while they share a bath together. Shudder). Of course poor little Tommy doesn’t really understand that his relationship with his mum is messed up, how could he?
Eventually it comes to pass that Tommy grows up back into Matt Smith. The new adult Tommy is of course introduced in bed. What is his mother doing? She’s watching him SLEEP! Why wouldn’t she? Actually what has really caught her attention is sticking out from under the covers is a female foot. When the owner of the foot wake up Tommy introduces Monica to Mother and Mother to Monica.
Mother is not amused. She does not want to share Tommy’s affection with another woman. Particularly not now that he’s all grown up. Speaking of which she really hasn’t aged herself over the past twenty some odd years. Tommy doesn’t really seem to understand the new tension in the beach house now that Monica has moved it. His mother has slipped into a deep depression and Tommy is doing his best to understand it and to help her, but of course he has no chance of even scratching the surface of her insanity.
Next Monica is out for a jog and Tommy is sleeping again, so it’s time for another creepy scene of his mother watching him. Only this time she goes a bit further and she gets into bed with him. Groggy Tommy rolls over and starts to snuggle with who he assumes is Monica. When he realizes that he’s cuddling in his briefs with his mother he’s understandably horrified. He might not know much but he knows this is a step too far. Scrambling out of bed he pulls on a pair of jeans and before he can even start to process what’s happened Monica returns and she is on him in a flash and all over him. Tommy’s mother is hiding under the sheets while Monica molests her son who is busy trying to push her away before the scene becomes even more awkward. Tommy manages to escape the unwanted affections of the two women and hides.
Scene jump! Tommy is heading up the beach towards the house, he seems to have been in the ocean as he’s all wet and wrapped in a large towel...but he’s also fully dressed sweater and all. Anyway, waiting for him on the front step is Tommy’s original mother. He greets her with a friendly smile and a hello, but she just stares at him like he’s Hitler. Tommy asks her who she is, he asks his mother who she is, he asks the two women what is going on and they just stare one another down like cats in an alley.
It’s late at night and poor Tommy can’t sleep. He and Monica’s bedroom is next to his mother’s so he goes to lay down with her to ask who the woman was again. His mother still isn’t taking and now Monica is calling him back to bed. At this point in time any man would be insane and Tommy’s not far off.
Confused and frustrated Tommy retreats to the bathtub for a few hours. Monica has finally decided that she has stepped into something far more messed up than she’s willing to handle and she leaves. Tommy is really headed towards total mental collapse now. His mother decides to give him the original Tommy’s laptop that shows him a slid show of the original Tommy’s life.
Realizing that he is a clone Tommy demands to know why. Much as before his mum is silent. When she goes to leave he grabs her by the back of the neck and throws her to the bed. He’s angry. Understandable.
This is the point in the movie where I figure that he’s going to kill her. That would be a reasonable response.
He doesn’t kill her. Okay. Fine. She is your mother even if she is crazy. So I’m now thinking that they are going to have a tooth an nail argument about right and wrong.
Nope. No yelling. Okay. Fine. How about Tommy packs up his stuff and storms out?
No? Okay. Fine.
Time to hide in the bathtub again?
No? Okay. Fin...wait...what’s happening...what’s going on. He’s not going to...Dear Lord he is.
Tommy’s response to learning he is a clone of his mother’s lost love? Yup. He pins her down and rapes her. Why wouldn’t he? Then he spends the night, packs up his stuff, says ‘thank you’ (really he did), and leaves.
The most terrifying part about this? That’s right, she’s pregnant at the end with his child. Where is Child Protective Services when you need them? It’s like the end of a horror movie where the dead villain suddenly opens his eyes and the scene goes to black.
The end...or is it?!
For me it’s not. I’m going to hunt out a good therapist and I suggest Tommy do the same.