Combustible Celluloid
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With: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Mathieu Goldfeld, Nissim Renard
Written by: Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Alante Kavaite, Geoff Cox
Directed by: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 81
Date: 11/25/2016

Evolution (2016)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cold Fetus

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This strange, austere sci-fi art film will likely engage viewers looking for something different, but for most, it's a queasy, unsettlingly weird experience, requiring much patience for little reward.

In Evolution, a young boy, Nicolas (Max Brebant), living in some kind of dystopian future (or an alternate reality, or another planet) finds the body of a dead boy floating in the water. His mother (Julie-Marie Parmentier) checks it out and announces that there is no dead boy.

But, in fact, she's lying, and it's revealed that the women who run this world are secretly using the boys in weird medical procedures. It appears that they are actually causing new children to grow within the boys' bodies. However, a nurse (Roxane Duran), moved by Nicolas's drawings, makes a decision to change his fate.

Director and co-writer Lucile Hadzihalilovic seems to want to say something about reproductive rights, but her tone is heavy and oppressive, as if she didn't trust the audience to come to the correct conclusion. The movie spends may long, quiet moments, perhaps either pondering or else stretching out the thin story.

From its sci-fi scenario, the movie elicits basic questions, such as: where do the women come from if only boys are around? Not to mention, we're left wondering just how this awful society works on a day-to-day basis; how does all this work?

As mysterious as it is and as beautifully filmed as it is, Evolution nonetheless seems more intent on message-making than on storytelling. It can leave you cold.

Best Buy Co, Inc.