Two police detectives, a grizzled veteran and one fresh-faced rookie, hunt a ritualistic serial killer murdering people with tattoos and skinning them.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Schoubya
Fatih Cevikkollu ...
Monica Bleibtreu ...
Kommissarin Roth
Ilknur Bahadir ...
Joe Bausch ...
Jasmin Schwiers ...
Marie Minks
Gustav-Peter Wöhler ...
Ingo Naujoks ...
Stefan Kreiner
Reinhardt Firchow ...
Polizeipräsident (as Reinhart Firchow)
Wanda Perdelwitz ...
Sybille J. Schedwill ...
Petra (as Sibylle Schedwill)


Two police detectives, a grizzled veteran and one fresh-faced rookie, hunt a ritualistic serial killer murdering people with tattoos and skinning them.

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Release Date:

4 April 2002 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Dövme  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of Schrader is named for writer-director Paul Schrader, who Robert Schwentke, the director of this film, admires. See more »


When Marc chases the suspect, who just heard a message on the walkie-talkie and saw him on the balcony, in one shot you can see Marc just turning left the corner and in the subsequent shot he's turning right the same looking corner. See more »


References The Silence of the Lambs (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Finally a hip Euro-Thriller that's worth watching
19 October 2002 | by (Kansas City, Missouri) – See all my reviews

Though this movie does have more than passing similarities to David Fincher's SE7EN, I feel that comparing the two is unfair and, in my opinion, downright unwise. It is true that TATTOO unfolds in an ever rainy cityscape; follows the lives of two police detectives (with a vast generation and experience gap) while they chase a killer. And yes, it plays its drama out amidst a seedy German underworld

However, what transpires amidst this spectacularly visualized tapestry full of rave parties, torture chambers, skin rooms, and body modification cliques willing to sell the tattoos off their body for quick cash, is vastly different in tone and theme from Fincher's 'who done it, and why' police procedural. Here the characters are not shown as black and white, but rather in shades of gray. Their lives, their dilemmas, are the real story. Even the reasons for the killings are presented in such a way that makes you understand, if not empathize, with those that a standard Hollywood picture would casually demonize. This element of moral ambiguity, under the remarkably controlled direction of Schwentke, creates a dark, cold, and subtly stylized world, that surprisingly plays as very very real.

It is encouraging to see a European film with the refined sensibility of European cinema combined so adeptly with a genre so intrinsically American. It is also hard to believe that this is Schwentke's directorial debut. (I for one will keep my eye on him.)

It's a remarkable film, and I certainly hope it blows the doors open for other genre films shot in Germany, and in Europe as a whole. Not since viewing Spoorloos (The Vanishing) have I been so impressed. If you have a chance, don't hesitate to catch it on the big screen. It's gorgeous, it's ballsy, and it's worth it.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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