There are some movies out there that you wish everyone had seen and artists you wish everyone knew. In this Hollywood obsessed film industry, one that is battered with bemoaning and complaints, you wish that you could turn people’s heads and – he he – direct them to a filmmaker burning with talent. Sebastian Silva is one such man who can command attention and admiration with his stirring extrapolations of chaotic humanity and strife filled emotion. Many film lovers would be aware of his work with Magic Magic – an investigation of selfishness and paranoia starring Michael Cera and Juno Temple, but he has crafted other pieces of work that evoke an impressive response and has had critical acclaim everywhere such as The Maid and La Vida Me Mata.
Now he returns in Nasty Baby, a film where he not only directs and writes, but also stars in LGBT drama Nasty Baby. Alongside Kristen Wiig and Tunde Adebimpe, Silva stars as one half of an interracial gay couple who are trying to have a baby. Their solution is to get their best friend Polly pregnant, a task which she is happily prepared to do. However, the trio are constantly harassed by a homophobic homeless man named The Bishop. Trying to navigate the system as well as the abuse, can the trio survive and live happily ever after?
With The Maid portraying a devastating look at social constructs within servitude and Magic Magic being an utterly compelling look at drug usage, the set up for Nasty Baby was promising but unfortunately Silva’s sixth feature film lags behind his other pieces of work. For a start, the film doesn’t have a distinct tone that you can hook into. It’s important to stress that whilst there is emotional and hallucinatory chaos within the aforementioned movies, Silva has always distinctively set a voice for our audiences to follow. Shifting and sliding through different tones here makes the movie uneasy to follow. On one hand, it’s a terrific social satire, witty and droll, and on the other it’s an important drama that looks at the intricacies of being gay in the modern era. A fantastic director would be able to pull these threads off well but Silva falls short and tangles them all together in a cinematic clump of yarn. There is no clear construct and the point of the film falls flat and uneven. All of this is enhanced by the slow, plodding pace.
What works well for the film is the performances. Despite behind let down by the direction and initial script, Silva, Wiig, and Adebimpe work hard to craft solid and emotive characters that you truly invest in. The films triumph is the visceral underbelly that toils as our characters are met with violence and adversity. Wiig is destined to be an Oscar winner and, hopefully, soon she can celebrate the spoils of her talent as she charms and devastates in this performance. Silva and Adebimpe have bouts of chemistry that the elements of struggle hits hard.
Despite all its faults, Nasty Baby still hits with some of the themes and is aesthetically pleasing – no matter how buried underneath the tone. Though the film is a difficult watch at times, Nasty Baby effervesces with a trio of spectacular actors trying desperately to bring a somewhat incoherent story together. It’s worth watching for them alone.
NASTY BABY IS OUT ON VOD NOW!
WATCH IT AT WE ARE COLONY!