If you've seen the film, or don't care about the substantial spoilers, you can go here and here to read very thorough and clear blog essays about the myriad and wide-ranging implications of, and topics brought up by, Splice (Vincenzo Natali, 2009). Although, if you've seen the film, and you're a moderately attentive and thoughtful viewer, you don't need to really go anywhere to have anyone unpack the film for you. A clause from early in Kim Dot Dammit's review sums up what a lot of these two pieces are circling around: "the film manages to combine a whole mess of hot topics such as abortion, biotechnology, the reproductive industry, genetic research, cloning, big pharma’s role in late capitalism, maternity, sexuality/gender and so much more into one disturbingly effective film."
This kind of phrasing pops up commonly reviews & criticism, i.e., admiringly listing off the host of diverse elements that a film brings together or brings up. (See, e.g., the Spin review, Feb 2008, of British Sea Power's Do You Like Rock Music?, where the band "touches on the topics of Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr, the great skua seabird, Kevlar, and the flooding of an island in the River Thames.") This listing by the critical observer is always at least somewhat self-aware, because the point is to indicate range by indicating a number of particulars. But I wonder if this gesture can be read symptomatically, too, to say something about the products in question and their own self-awareness.
A while back I gave a conference paper on 'reversible' films, blockbuster cinema that seeks to accommodate politicized readings by accommodating even contradictory ideologies. On a textual level, there is no true interpretation to movies like The Lord of the Rings or The Matrix or even more ostensibly right- and left-wing 300 and V for Vendetta. These films have fluid, if not gaseous, rules for the construction of their allies, enemies, and causes. Their engineering as narrative packages is highly clever and streamlined. In a related way but on a more sophisticated level is another articulation of cinema, what we might call 'diffuse.' The difference - and of course I'm speaking impressionistically and in generalities, and any given film will offer particularities which trouble my categories - is that a reversible film fosters a political position (any number of positions), a spiritual forebear being something like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, whereas the diffuse film knowingly revels in the messiness, in the feeling of impossibility of a clear political through-line. It goes into the cul-de-sac, it embraces the ethical, epistemological, sociopolitical clusterfuck. This isn't necessarily apolitical - cousins to this diffusion seem, to me, to be Roman Polanski as well as speculative fiction writer China Mieville (both figures dealing in genre fictions who have serious political intentions). But diffuse cinema, like Splice or District 9 (Neill Blomkamp) or some Arnaud Desplechin, seems to me to deliberately inspire such lists of diverse topical or thematic content as those highlighted above. When the film in question is considered effective, the iteration of such lists is meant to indicate that these nodes are mobilized in rich, weird, perhaps unpredicted or unpredictable, and sophisticated ways.
As a broader practice in audiovisual culture, like (say) "slow" cinema (see here), I think it'd be worth greater attention to this industrial-textual confluence as something which is still sometimes treated as a natural and unselfconscious happening at this moment in cinema/culture, and sometimes treated (perhaps more shrewdly) as a wave whose riders are aware of themselves ...
(P.S. also, some World Cup commentary forthcoming probably sometime this weekend ...)