Walking the thin line of bias and admiration, “Creation” is nothing so whatsoever of a campaign or taking a high pedestal as the elite atheist. This fictionalized version of Charles Darwin’s struggle to deal with the death of his eldest daughter Annie and the pressure, trouble and dilemma in finishing his work of “The Origin of Species” forms a film that is much overlooked and had few distribution for the year of 2009. A moving drama and a war within and with the marriage, “Creation” cannot be more powerful and yet remain so emotional simultaneously.
Jon Amiel does not want to focus on the child hood of this historic man, nor does he want to educate on his findings and self taught beliefs on the nature against the much pressured and closed community of 1800s. It does not run as a parade of scrutiny against the atrocities of being led to follow than to listen to oneself. It rather becomes a lovely story of a father, a husband and finally the man to formulate this book. The book that I need to read. It was the very first thing I decided after watching the film.
Vaguely in the high school memories lives theory of evolution for me. With the face of Darwin and the various species aligned, the experiment of a dirty cloth (or something) kept in a glass jar closed and opened is something permanently matched along with the man for me. I hope that is the experiment he did. The concept was far fetched and unattainable to grasp for this feeble mind. But realizing the existence and the nature of the surroundings was the way it was supposed to be learnt. Now the augmentation of such a great thought would be the right way to complete it.
Paul Bettany provides the Charles Darwin in “Creation” the necessary authenticity an average movie goer can relate and the emotional weight with the balance every actor hopes for. Here as the cheerful father, he talks with Annie (Martha West) seeing much and more of himself. He tells her true stories than fancy fairy tales. She absorbs them. Darwin cannot have asked more than her. There are three other children living in the shadows of their elder sister. Life would have been tougher for them but Darwin comes around finally.
“Creation” has so much in essence of Darwin’s spear edged theory not to conclusively kill god but to say that the possibility of these laws have something clear to the beings on the Earth, which is to live without the burden of purpose and like the nature of us than to cause a path to eternity. Yet it is not the film in itself. It does not have long and boorish argument of science versus religion. It is more about the state of mind of this man and more about his family. His wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) is religious as any one would be in the era and the loss of a child will drive even a stone hearted stubborn person for a power beyond the skies. They both have not talked properly after that tragedy. Darwin is going sick and torturing himself while hallucination Annie. He has forgotten the family and does not know whether to go ahead with the book and destroy Emma’s final hope or to live with a buried conscience and cheating himself.
His nightmares are the over the time events of nature and his haunting are the flashbacks of those sweet innocent and caring moments with Annie. The Annie of his hallucination is merciless and speaks for his mind wars. Bettany in this role of a broken father and a scientist brings out the inner trouble through physical pain and constant thoughts. He gives Darwin as the best father and a troubled husband. But he is also a regular man.
What “Creation” does is the awe of someone finding and writing these theories in a world believing completely opposite of it. More than people laughing and making fun of them, it is dangerous to have a thought process which questions the belief system. All this could have been done loudly in the film but Jon Amiel settles for self questioning. The things we worry about if we are in those situations are the people we love and that is exactly what Darwin does. In those Amiel creates the affection and beauty of it playing as a wounded father and mother dealing their grief and their personal beliefs. It is not alone touching but adds the human value in logical senses in these situations. In its fictionalized account of such, it creates truthful value.
The music of Christopher Young and the acting of Paul Bettany with Jennifer Connelly are the best Jon Amiel could have asked for on such an onus of a project to pursue. Instead of making it an exercise of childhood, adulthood, realization and all those metamorphosis and catharsis, he takes the paramount event that would have caused the man to think and toil himself on this pursuit of evolution. In that we see a beautiful story with people struggling with their sorrow and guilt with the surroundings present without being seen.
Note: “Creation” has been added in the best movies of 2009