Antibodies - Review
Review by Jack Foley
THE spirit of The Silence Of The Lambs and Se7en lingers heavily over this German psychological thriller that remains intriguing nonetheless.
Michael Martens (Wotan Wilke Mohring) is a part-time country cop whose life has become devoted to finding the serial killer he believes has been hiding in the midst of his village since the murder of a young girl some time ago.
His search takes him to Berlin, where city detectives are holding Gabriel Engel (Andre Hennicke), a killer of young boys who uses their blood to paint apocalyptic messages.
Although seemingly unrelated, Gabriel claims to have information for Michael and will only talk to him, leading to a battle of wits between the two that begins to corrode the inexperienced policeman’s mind.
As his search becomes more frantic, Michael begins to doubt his own sanity and capacity for good, while coming to suspect that evil may be lurking within his own family.
Christian Alvart’s movie is a dark, twisted and frequently complex piece that places great emphasis on religion and moral ambiguity.
It’s not always easy to watch and occasionally feels sordid but its sense of violence and impending evil is frighteningly real, right up until its tense final reel.
Both Mohring and Hennicke provide suitably engaging performances – the former chronicling his descent into despair extremely well, and the latter suitably conniving as the Lecter-like villain.
But the film struggles to escape the obvious comparisons with its more illustrious Hollywood counterparts and lacks the big names or strong word of mouth needed to make it a major hit.
Indeed, it could just as easily be primed for an American remake given the success it has already enjoyed in its homeland.
That said, the young director establishes himself as a promising new talent and the film consistently holds a grim fascination that seldom insults the intelligence. It’s often uncomfortably engrossing stuff.
(In German, with subtitles)
Running time: 2hrs 7mins