Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 08/02/2021

BREEDER

The pursuit of everlasting youth is something some people will go to great lengths for. In Dutch film Breeder, a biochemical company may have found something that works.

Thomas (Anders Heinrichsen) is an investment banker who has pumped money into the venture, but it’s scientist Dr Isabel Ruben (Signe Egholm Olsen) who is calling the shots, including some rather nasty research techniques. After an encounter leaves their neighbour’s au pair shaken and branded on the arm, Thomas promises to take her to the hospital. Only it’s his makeshift laboratory instead, a run-down factory with very few clinical areas. His wife, Mia (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen), is concerned when she can’t reach the woman at the hospital and checks his iPhone location, so goes to find out what’s going on. Unfortunately, she discovers the truth about the operation and is caged with other women.

Directed by Jens Dahl, Breeder is a grim, nasty tale that compares the caging and abuse of animals to the captive women in Ruben’s lab. (The clue of their use is in the name, but we don’t want to reveal too many spoilers). It also has much to say about the relationship of the sexes, and various kinks or perversions that might come with it. Mia, for example, is desperate to try for a baby but Thomas can’t perform. She is seen sorting herself out while digging in her buttock with a riding spur. Later, it’s revealed that Thomas has his own leanings in the bedroom department, yet they don’t have a healthy enough relationship to discuss their wants. It also shines a light on the use and abuse of women - even by their own sex - and even the dehumanisation of the hired thugs, named only The Dog and The Pig.

While Breeder isn’t an easy watch by any means, it’s proficiently made and Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen’s script manages to highlight many issues, not least the ethics - or lack of - of the beauty industry.

Release Date: February 15th

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