A jogger collapses, dead. A child is born. Intertitle: ‘Ten years later’. These are the first three events in ‘Birth’ and already it has the Luis Bunuel feeling — in spades. This was only confirmed when the end credits listed one of Bunuel’s collaborators as a co-writer. Freudian theory was relatively easily incoporated into Hollywood storytelling, with the basic Oedipal plot underpinning films across genres: ‘Birth’, like Bunuel’s films, cannot be reduced the the Freudian ideas that inspire them. The ten-year-old who claims to reincarnate — in fact, be — Kidman’s late husband is not simply a surrogate son. In other words, I can’t really figure it out. As a suspense film, it’s a bust: the ‘explanation’ for the kid’s behaviour is so weak that the director actually buries crucial plot information: the revelation is blink-and-miss. Music dominates the film, and the film resembles music — I guess: it orchestrates emotions, sometimes obscure. Its treatment of ‘content’ (which is present: social tension, family tension) is oblique. Glazer is clearly a fan of Kubirck, but no Kubrick film contains a scene as gutwrenching as the finale here.