Title: Nasty Baby
Country: USA, Chile
Language: English, Spanish
Director/Writer: Sebastián Silva
Cinematography: Sergio Armstrong
Reg E. Cathey
Marsha Stephanie Blake
Chilean director Sebastián Silva’s Sundance premiered sixth feature NASTY BABY is an oddity in queer cinema, it ostensibly starts to tackle with a topical issue of gay couples, after homosexuality has been reckoned more or less as a normalcy in America, – parenthood, but rounds off with a shark-jumping bang. Freddy (director Silva himself) is an European immigrant, from Spain, one divines, he is a performance artist lives in New York with his black boyfriend Mo (Adebimpe, leading singer from TV on the Radio). Freddy and his bestie Polly (Wiig) are both broody: Freddy is caught up in his new project named “Nasty Baby” which involves adults imitating baby behaviours, it is absolutely nonsensical both on paper and in its eventual form, while Polly, at one point is joked by Freddy as a“semen vampire”, she is not young anymore, so timing is also crucial for her whether she could ever become a mother. Naturally, they decide to having a baby together, only to their dismay that Freddy’s sperm count is too low. So Freddy is egged to persuade Mo as the sperm donor, and the latter eventually caves in.
Meanwhile, a mentally impaired vagrant Bishop (Cathey) lives nearby begins to wrack the trio firstly by leaf-blowing in every early morning across the street of Freddy and Mo’s apartment, then physically pestering Polly several times and constantly hurling homophobic abuse at them, anyway he is cuckoo, and Silva ascertains that the aversion to Bishop is plain vicarious.
Time goes by until a mood-shifting third act happens on the day when Polly phones Freddy that she is not pregnant with Mo’s semen whereas the truth is otherwise, she only wants to give him a surprise later to cheer him up after knowing Freddy’s Nasty Baby is cold-shouldered by the gallery owner initially shows interest but backtracks. On his way to his apartment, a tetchy and smouldering Freddy encounters Bishop again, and this time, there will be blood! The film changes its gear bluntly from a blanched mumblecore to a noirish thriller saturated with consternation and fumbles (a hallmark deer-in-the-headlight will arrive later as an over-obvious metaphor). It is a wayward move notwithstanding, but what Silva brings home to audience is the elemental homicidal urge resides in those carefree hipsters, whom we are half-heartedly rooting for until that crunch. The trio is going to become parents of a mixed race baby, but a callous truth is that not only they have no instinct to save one when they can, they also unanimously chooses the other way around, on a deceitful ground that man is a scourge, despicable and expendable, yet, he is still an egalitarian human being, when bringing a new life into this world and extinguishing an old one (assumably with the same skin color) has been juxtaposed in that fashion, it electrifies viewers to jump on that cynical old question: how can we keep our inner demon at bay and raise a child free of such contamination? That’s my takeaway of this unorthodox indie fare when being steeped in the catchy closing-credits anthem: Ida Corr and Fedde Le Grand’s LET ME THINK ABOUT IT. There is some food for thought left, but also one cannot help feeling being short-changed.