“Taking a cue from Krzysztof Kieslowski, Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf uses a melancholy palette of blues and greys in his English-language debut feature. Womb is an atmospheric film that imbues vanguard scientific issues with pathos and compassion. Though the story begins with a senseless murder, the film is flush with the heartening themes of life and love.
Rebecca (Casino Royale’s Eva Green) is thrown into despair when her eco-activist lover, Tommy (Matt Smith), is killed on his way to a protest. Tucked away in the small seaside town where she and Tommy first met as children, Rebecca struggles with her unremitting grief. She tries, unsuccessfully, to imagine a life without Tommy and falls into depression.
It’s at this point in the film that elements of science fiction come into play, although they harbour none of the genre’s conventionally flashy trappings. Rebecca is presented with an irresistible opportunity to bring Tommy back to life: if she is impregnated with his genes, she will give birth to his clone. The pitfall is that Rebecca will be forced into an emotionally divisive role, at once mother and former lover to her newborn child. It’s a futuristic dilemma that forces the characters into a series of moral quandries.
Fliegauf whisks his characters to Germany’s North Sea where he creates a post-apocalyptic seascape with a radically new ethical makeup. Unhindered by conventional stigmas, the residents of this new world are able to explore a raw, pre-social form of love. It’s a bold and complex premise that Fliegauf executes with intelligence and sensitivity. Womb emerges as a subtle film with a powerful moral angle, a harbinger of how advancements in science and genetics will force a re-appraisal of longstanding taboos.”