06th May2012

‘Clone’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Eva Green, Matt Smith, Lesley Manville, Peter Wight, István Lénárt, Hannah Murray | Written and Directed by Benedek Fliegauf

Originally called Womb, Clone seems to have had a name change to evoke more of a sensationalist reaction in people who may buy it, but in truth the original name says a lot more about the films subject and the opinions I have of it. Most people though will probably see the name Matt Smith and think Doctor Who. Don’t expect time travel in this film though; just a slightly harrowing story of love and loss.

When Rebecca and Thomas meet as children they become instant friendship and love soon blossoms. This is dealt a blow though when Rebecca moves away. Years later she returns and now as adults they rekindle their relationship as the love is still there. Disaster strikes once more as Thomas is killed but Rebecca refuses to let her love go, cloning Thomas as her own child so she can have him once more. As he grows older her love still exists with him totally oblivious of the truth of his birth, only having little knowledge of his father. As the years go by though and he reaches the adulthood and looks exactly like his father (person he was cloned from) it becomes harder for Rebecca to cope.

From the very start this is not a film that proclaims cloning as evil and an act against humanity, it’s more of a look at the effects of losing somebody you love. There is prejudice of the “fake” people who are known to be clones and this provides a nice examination into how society deals with anything different to what they see as normal, the main theme here though is love. The fact is you can’t bring back the dead, even if you clone a person that person will not be the one that you lost. It’s a nice examination into the devastating and selfish effect love can have when you lose it and try to get it back which is why I prefer the name Womb instead of Clone, it relates more to what this film is actually about.

So to the question that most want answered, what was Matt Smith like outside of the Doctor Who setting? The answer is quite similar to the Doctor really. I remember seeing him in The Ruby in the Smoke before he became The Doctor and he was very similar in that, his characters are full of energy and vigour which is probably what makes him so good in Doctor Who. When David Tennant left they needed to continue the energetic personality of the Doctor, moving him away from the older versions where he was slower with a little less action. One thing he does manage to do in Clone though is convey emotions. His character Thomas, especially the cloned version is a character confused with the world he has been born into and Matt Smith sure knows how to do the confused look. Oh and don’t let any younger Doctor Who fans watch this unless you want them to see the Doctors bare butt. This is an adult film.

Now we are past the Doctor issue it has to be said that the film is very much on Eva Green’s shoulders and she does do a very good job in this film. Clone is a film where more is said through facial expressions and body language than in actual words as Eva’s character Rebecca has to hide the truth from everybody around her. You can see the anguish in her face though and through her body language the true loneliness she feels as Thomas grows up into a man who she hoped was to be hers but was never meant to be. She plays her role perfectly, the woman broken by losing the man she loved and trying to live that life once again through her child. A life destined to end in tragedy and of course we have to witness the result.

This film will not be to everybody’s taste, it’s a subtle and slow placed examination into the lives of both Rebecca and Thomas, and people will argue not much happens but in truth that is the point. This is a film where we are given a fly on the wall view of a woman’s almost selfish need to cling onto the man she loves even when he is taken from her, a move that not only consumes her life but that of the clone she creates and people around them. Thoughtful, uncomfortable and harrowing I won’t say it’s entertaining but it definitely makes you think about the decisions that are made and what you would do in the same position.

Clone is released on DVD and Blu-ray by Arrow on Monday May 7th.

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