Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Premise: A widow (Nicole Kidman) preparing to remarry becomes convinced that a ten-year-old boy is the reincarnation of her dead husband.
What Works: The film is sufficiently creepy, mostly due to a sense of perversion and an air of pedophilia rather than the possibility of a supernatural occurrence. The film borrows a lot from Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski, using long takes, slow panning shots, and letting the actor’s rhythms determine the editing of the film rather than vice versa.
What Doesn’t: This editing technique sometimes causes scenes to go on for too long and there are instances of redundancy where a character takes up time explaining what the audience has already seen. When the resolution of the film is reached, it is not entirely satisfying because of its lack of cost; the characters’ choices are too easily forgiven and this lessens the impact that the plot has been building to.
Bottom Line: Birth is getting a lot of exposure because of some notable casting choices and for the controversy surrounding the romance but there is something to this film. It succeeds in making the audience uncomfortable by taking on the issues of maturity, identity, sexuality, and grief. What it has to say about these subjects is not explicit, but its ambiguity is a part of the tone of the film.
Episode: #27 (November 14, 2004)