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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Hinky Real Estate Deal

Vivarium (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

love birdsWe open with a bona fide nature documentary—the narrative is in the aux. material—on the propagation habits of the European Cuckoo. It lays its egg in the nest of another bird, here a tiny Reed Warbler. Once hatched—first—it rolls the other egg(s) out of the nest to make more room for itself. If another (smaller) chick manages to hatch too, it bullies it out of the nest as well, where of course it won't survive. Then it makes a trilling sound causing the mama bird to feed its burgeoning appetite. The mom & dad about kill them­selves tending their substitute baby who grows large enough to dwarf them both until one day it flies away.

woman teacherThe scene changes to a primary school where upbeat teacher Gemma (Imogen Poots) has displayed a tableau depicting the evolutionary family tree of the dinosaurs. She has her pupils stand and mimic trees blowing in the wind and then a violent storm that comes along. This represents, we suppose, a steady state environment interrupted by a cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs. That's what they teach in schools.

When the class lets out, a school girl Molly (Molly McCann) sadly discovers two dead baby birds under a tree out­side. She and her teacher speculate it's the work of a cuckoo above. Climbing down out of the tree comes Gemma's boy­friend Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) who'd been pruning some branches—he spared any birds.

gardenerSince Tom is a landscape gardener, he'd represent the first man Adam from, (Gen. 2:15) “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Gemma would represent Eve (Gen. 3:20) “the mother of all living.” They've emerged from the evolutionary family tree and are now looking to buy a house in the suburbs.

The ascent
of man

They meet with a real estate broker Martin (Jonathan Aris) in his spartan office and he offers them a tour of a home in his signature ticky-tacky housing development. “How far away is it?” they ask. “Near enough. And far enough. Just the right distance,” he replies. That's about right for the Twilight Zone.


babyThey are stuck with a foundling, in a domestic partner­ship that stipulates their release after they, “Raise the child.” Bummer! The bright side is the kid grows faster than a human child, at about the speed of a dog. They must teach it human mannerisms. There is no other human contact in their new home.

Twilight Zone episodes always contain moral lessons and of a sort that couldn't be conveyed in the regular way. Here the lesson is the couple should have had a wedding ceremony before setting up house, one with the requisite witnesses if they wanted their family to remain connected with society at large. Other­wise, they're isolated from the master family tree and raising an illegitimate child in some yonder realm.

(Prov. 21:12) “The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God over­throweth the wicked for their wickedness.” Molly had wisely considered the situation of the cuckoo who had not built her own nest but mooched off another's. The starring couple is living in sin, and Twilight Zone style episodes are not known for their happy endings.

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by Lorcan Finnegan. Its script was written by Garret Shanley, based on a story by Lorcan Finnegan and Garret Shanley. It stars Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jonathan Aris. Poots and Eisenberg the leads gave great performances, and Shanley showed uncommon depth bringing out strangeness in his other­worldly character. Molly McCann a child actor did very well in her small part.

There are some thematic issues affecting its suitability for children, a glimpse of nakedness in a fleeting sex act, psycho­logical violence, and some occasional bad words. The nature shots of the baby birds being summarily killed by another bird are real, but the dead chicks are given a decent burial. The various setups and back­grounds were a logistical challenge, but the editing brought it all together seam­lessly. Good CGI saved the day in places.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

All it needs is the theme music and Rod Serling's voice for this to be a quint­essential Twilight Zone movie. It's out­land­ishly weird with an under­lying moral message that comes in under the radar. Great acting and some nature & school­house shots anchor the flight of fantasy after­wards. They don't make them like this any more. My hat's off to this retro work.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Astounding special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.