Dir: Benedek Fliegauf
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Smith and Lesley Manville
Womb is what you might call a slow burner, it has a very slow pace, and it basically remains that way through the entire film. So what exactly would a slow burn film called Womb be about? It tells the story of a woman named Rebecca (Eva Green) and a man named Tommy (Matt Smith), they befriend as children and have an instant connection. They lose touch for many years but are reunited when Rebecca returns to the sea side town where they met. They connect once again, and an attraction is there but Rebecca is hesitant saying ‘it doesn’t feel right’. They do continue their friendship until a tragedy takes Tommy away, and unable to cope Rebecca goes to extreme lengths to bring him back.
I don’t feel entirely comfortable giving too much more away, as I saw the film with less knowledge about the plot then what I have revealed and it all came as a surprise as it unfolded. Womb deals with many complicated issues, it never gives an opinion either way of what is right or what is wrong. It simply presents the situations and never fully explores them. At its core it has a love story, and what someone might do to keep the essence of that person. In this case Rebecca does something so shocking and disturbing, I had a hard time with it. It does share a similar sci-fi element that Never Let Me Go had, however that film was far more successful with it.
The implications of what Rebecca does are quite evident through out the film, however it is not exactly made clear how Rebecca feels about what she is doing. There are scene that do convey a very disturbing and uncomfortable environment, without then conveying any real emotion behind it. I can understand that the slow pacing of the film was to build up anticipation for how this all would eventually play out, but it just does not entirely work. It needed to show a lot more feeling and exploration to have that really hit hard.
The film by writer/director Benedek Fliegauf is not a bad one by any means, I think there were some great ideas presented but as I mentioned not really explored at all. It is superbly shot and it looks just beautiful, it really has a sombre feeling to it. The film mostly takes place in one area, and the most is made within that location. The problems really lie within the script, it is not a surprise to know that this was Fliegauf’s first English language film. It is very emotionless and this of course comes through with the actors, who are alright but really should be more then that. They felt wooden and hollow at times, and this was very true of situations within the film that were horrific in nature and nothing at all came across. Eva Green is a very capable actress and while she looked so stunning, her performance (while the strongest in the film) might very well be one of the weaker efforts I have seen from her. Matt Smith (the current Doctor Who) struggles with certain scenes, but he does make Tommy a character that is likable. With a stronger script and direction, I could seen him being a far better performer for this role.
The film certainly contains very taboo and controversial issues, and it would have been something to see them really expressed here. Womb is a film that I can recommend if you want to see a beautifully shot film, and see some interesting ideas. Otherwise this isn’t one that you need run out to see. I really think there was a lot of potential here and it is disappointing that the finish product didn’t reflect that.
The Australian DVD
The copy I reviewed is a screener, so there are no extra features aside from the films trailer.
Thanks to Bill at Gryphon Entertainment for the copy.