In "The 11th Hour" starring Kim Basinger, motherhood is conceived as a mystical, harrowing addiction of sorts, a yearning for feminine purpose that can drive one to the darkest depths for a fix.
Basinger plays Maria, an American businesswoman in Europe who wants nothing more than to have her own child, pursuing it to the detriment of her own safety and relationship.
After suffering her eighth miscarriage, in which she narrowly escapes death, she begins to sense the ghostly spirit of her would-be daughter, who whispers entreaties for Maria to find her. The quest leads Maria to the German-Czech border, where she has heard that inside the rampant sex trade people are selling infants for cash.
Along the way, she picks up a drug-addicted transient (Jordan Prentice) to serve as her assistant in baby procurement. Prentice brings an earthy, grounded presence to the film, balancing Maria's point of view, which is dreamy, dark and surreal, toeing the line between hallucination and reality. Basinger plays Maria as cold and detached, her blinkered focus on her goal and loose grip on reality leading her to baffling, bad decisions.
Writer-director Anders Morgenthaler's conclusion comes far too hastily and haphazardly, with a disregard for plot details or plausible storytelling. "The 11th Hour" seems to say all the trials to which Maria is subjected are worth it in some superficial way.
"The 11th Hour."
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Los Angeles.