Birth Jonathan Glazer

The thought of viewers booing and complaining at the Venice Film Festival in reaction to one minor scene where a woman takes a bath with a young boy helped hammer the nail in Birth's coffin months before it was released. It's a shame really because Jonathan Glazer's second feature film (after directing a bunch of mind-altering music videos) not only surpassed his impressive debut, Sexy Beast, but is also one of the better films of 2004 that no one, besides film critics, saw. Part supernatural thriller, part romantic drama, Birth is the story of a woman who loses her husband to a heart attack, only to find him reincarnated a decade later as a ten-year-old boy mere days before she is to be married to her fiancé. The situation Glazer puts his characters into is tragically amorous and hauntingly disturbing, largely due to how wonderfully the cast portray their deeply confused characters. Nicole Kidman, despite her god-awful quaff, is magnificently emotive as a woman who is torn not only between the two men she loves but between deciding if what stands before her is the man she married or a deeply distraught child. Cameron Bright is just as striking as the impassive and persuasive man trapped in a boy's body. It's his convincing demeanour that makes this a creepy and enthralling film. And the controversial scene in the bathtub? Glazer handles it without resorting to transgression, leaving it simply as a curious scene without any perversion. With such a mesmerising film under his belt, the only disappointment is that Glazer has packaged this release with no special features, not even a commentary from a grip or gaffer. (Alliance Atlantis)