Brian M. Raftery
April 18, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Birth

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
100 minutes
Limited Release Date
10/29/04
performer
Cameron Bright, Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche, Danny Huston
director
Jonathan Glazer
distributor
New Line Cinema
author
Jean-Claude Carriere, Jonathan Glazer
genre
Romance, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C-

When a frowny-faced 10-year-old sneaks into Nicole Kidman’s posh apartment in Birth, she reacts the way any normal person would: with calm aloofness. And when he announces that he’s actually the reincarnation of her decade-dead husband, why, she becomes even more aloof! That’s pretty much what passes for human behavior in this initially absorbing, inevitably absurd mystery, in which we’re to believe that the wealthy denizens of Manhattan’s upper reaches are so frigid — or maybe so overly Paxilated — that they wouldn’t wig out over a creepy kid dredging up painful memories. To overcompensate for the shell-shocked dreariness, director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) pumps up Alexandre Desplat’s taut, lovely score to bombastic degrees and substitutes last-minute plot pileons for revelatory twists. They’re distracting gambits that will leave viewers hot and bothered?a state nowhere to be found in Birth’s implausibly stuffy setting. EXTRAS None, though perhaps, 10 years down the line, New Line will ”reincarnate” them on a bonus disc.

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