BIRTH is a stunning, sophomoric effort by writer/director Jonathan Glazer (SEXY
BEAST). It stars a mesmerizing Nicole Kidman as Anna, a wealthy woman whose
dead husband Sean comes back to thwart her upcoming marriage to Joseph (Danny
Huston). An intense, mature and just slightly creepy Cameron Bright plays the
10-year-old Sean, who claims to be none other than Anna's Sean who died a
decade ago. No matter how often Sean's dad insists that he relent and promise
never to see Anna again, the young lad refuses to go along and thereby give up
At this point, you may be thinking, "supernatural -- I don't do supernatural."
Even if you think this isn't the genre for you, you might want to think again,
since it isn't clear until the end exactly what is happening. And, even then,
the script purposely undermines the rock solid explanation it just provided
What is certain is that this is a movie with a director in firm control of the
reins. The sparse dialog is just about superfluous, as the movie tells the
story more through carefully constructed visuals than it does through the
And the music. Ah, the music. It is simply sublime. The movie's best scene
occurs inside a theater. As Anna's face fills the frame and the camera freezes
as she contemplates the spell the boy's story has cast on her, an orchestral
selection from Wagner's "Die Walküre" perfectly sets the mood. This is one of
the best scenes of the year. With small variations in facial gestures, Kidman
tells an entire novel's worth of Anna's deepest thoughts.
A movie that makes the phrase "slow paced" a compliment, BIRTH is worth seeing
a second time just to soak up its score and images.
BIRTH runs a beautifully paced 1:40. It is rated R for "sexuality" and would
be acceptable for teenagers.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes