An Olympic level equestrian, Mia Lindberg is at the top of her profession but her personal life is at an impasse, her financier husband Thomas indifferent to her desire to have a child and the timing which prompts her to want one now, between competition seasons, while his attention is consumed by his business partner Doctor Isabel Ruben and her startup biotechnology company Ruben Rejuvenation which intends to promote a treatment complex called Resurrecta.
Doctor Ruben also aware of the ticking biological clocks of her wealthy clientele, she offers to set back the hands of time twenty years or more, her own appearance at odds with her true age of sixty-one, but while only first stage clinical trials have been completed and there is a long way to go before Resurrecta can be marketed, a demand has already been created which requires morphogenic materials tailored to the DNA of her subjects.
Directed by Jens Dahl from a script by Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen, Breeder stars Sara Hjort Ditlevsen as Mia, alarmed by the sudden appearance of her neighbour’s bloodied Russian au pair Nika and trusting her husband to conduct her to the hospital only to find that something is amiss as his cellphone tracker shows that he has instead travelled to an isolated industrial site, compelling her to follow and investigate.
The base pair sequence opening titles recalling those of Gattaca, the premise of Breeder acknowledges the societal quandary comprehensively addressed in Wyndham’s Trouble with Lichen, that should it become possible to prolong life it will be a privilege reserved only for those already wealthy, but even should it become widely available to the workers it would mean nothing other than extending their servitude, but any intellectual discussion is overwhelmed by the situation in which Mia finds herself trapped and never returned to.
Coldly practical and committed, Doctor Ruben (Signe Egholm Olsen) has engaged men to enforce the necessities of her experimentation however they see fit, the women in her dungeon brutalised, degraded, branded like cattle and, as the title implies, serving as nothing more than incubators for embryonic stem cells, but even with a rational if unjustifiable scientific premise underlying the atrocities perpetuated by the characters it does not elevate Breeder far above the level of torture porn.
The women are treated as disposable, subhuman, unlike the cathartic bid for freedom depicted in Scout in the anthology Dark Place the uprising here is one of bloody retribution, relentlessly unpleasant viewing capped by Mia’s equally troubling acceptance of the complicity of her husband Thomas (Anders Heinrichsen), less the forgiveness of a minor matrimonial transgression than the offering of a licence to further abuse.