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|Index||34 reviews in total|
Fine thriller that ostensibly tells the story of the capture and
interrogation of a serial killer of young boys. However, the film is
really about so much more than that. It tackles issues like how life in
a small village can be disrupted for years by a single murder, and how
the inhabitants cope in the aftermath. It also covers the strained
relationship between townspeople and the local constabulary, as well as
how a small town officer fares when dealing with big city police
investigators, some of whom do not appreciate his assistance.
On a larger scale, it ponders the place of religion in modern society, especially as it pertains to the nature of good and evil. Can evil infect and ultimately corrupt the good and innocent? Does Catholicism help or hurt the fervent believer? Is there room for religious belief in modern times? The movie presents all this in a Silence of the Lambs-type package that looks great, is beautifully acted, sometimes shocking and well paced for its over 2 hour run time. In German with English subtitles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a very dark, very twisted, very well made serial killer flick that has much in common with Michael Mann's "Manhunter" and Demme's "Silence of the Lambs". It has what some would call an aberrant sexual slant. After a suspected serial killer with a Hannibal Lector-style genius is finally captured, a country cop is brought in to get the psychopath to spill his guts. What he spills embroils the cop in a complex web of dark sexuality and strange discoveries involving his own family. Director Christian Alvert maintains the tension and does not shy away from disturbing imagery. The material involving the murders of children is potent but not gory. One scene involving a girl slashed upwards from the vagina is suitably horrific. Special mention must go to composer Michl Britsch for his disturbing, industrial score. This grim German film that explores the darkest recesses of human behavior is an absolute winner.
You might think that Antibodies is very similar to Silence of the
Lambs. I've even heard one person describing it as a rip-off of it, but
I don't see that in Antibodies. The only similarities is that the
serial-killer (here a revolting paedophile, instead of a harmless
cannibal) and the detective feature key scenes across bars. That's it!
Antibodies is more about solving the case of a murdered little girl who
the serial killer refuses to admit to killing. Whereas the Silence of
the Lambs was more about Jodie Foster on the tail of a whole new serial
killer altogether! That being said, of course Antibodies is not as
great as the Silence of the Lambs, but it is a super solid serial
killer thriller that offers so much more than you'd imagine.
Antibodies is dangerously under-rated. It seems to me that hardly anyone has seen it and I can't understand why. I came across it on IMDb by accident and the poster caught my eye with its sinister focal image and clinical background. There's no reason why Antibodies should not appeal to mass audiences, other than it being in German which lazy people (who have probably not even given subtitled films a chance!) send away. Antibodies looks amazing, it's made on a very decent budget, has fantastic acting and a wonderfully twisty script. At two hours long Antibodies never sags and I was even kind of sad to see it end because it's such a gripping experience.
Antibodies grabs you by the throat from the stylish opening where the mad man's apartment is stormed by police officers. Here we're bombarded with religious imagery which can often seem a bit pompous, but in Antibodies it serves a very intelligent purpose and only adds to the brilliant screenplay. We're given striking imagery of a naked psychopath and it could've easily leaped out of a Hollywood film with its big-budget feel. However unlike most Hollywood productions it features an edgy screenplay as well as great visuals. It's no surprise that Hollywood is eating this up! What the screenplay does so well is getting into the minds of its characters. Our detective is no less interesting than the psychopath himself (well maybe slightly, but psychopaths have an unfair advantage of being interesting). We're let into the detective's everyday life and we see his strengths and flaws as a characters. No doubt the remake will feature a pure detective, which will completely miss the whole idea of the film. I loved seeing his character change from being cool and collected and then being completely tormented by Gabriel (the psychopath, who is definitely no angel).
Just like in the Silence of the Lambs, the interrogation scenes feature astonishingly gripping dialogue as we become as entangled in the mystery as much as the detective is. There are also some very interesting uses of camera angles. In fact, the whole film moves at a great pace and has a speedy energy which you wouldn't expect from a film that lasts two hours. Antibodies never drags and you always care. The film is never afraid to be cruel and brutal in its characterisation and it's right not to hold back. It's important to note that people like Gabriel do exist and we can't just shut the out!
There are a few jaw-dropping twists at the end which only show off the brilliant nature of the screenplay. There are some very intense sequences that had me on the edge of my seat. The character of the detective is also never ignored and he rightly remains central to the story as we see him being led into temptation amongst other things. Antibodies is a thrilling experience and a high-class serial killer thriller. It certainly has the dark elements of horror like the Silence of the Lambs has, yet it adds a brilliant spin on the sub-genre that should have you on the edge of your seat. This is top-notch entertainment with a heart at the centre of it. See it before Hollywood squashes it!
German screenwriter and director Christian Alvart's second feature film
which he wrote, premiered at the 4th Tribeca Film Festival in 2005, was
shot on locations in Berlin and Lower Saxony in north-western Germany
and is a German production which was produced by German producers Boris
Schönfelder and Theo Bal, and co-produced by Christian Alvart and
German producer Rainer Kölmer. It tells the story about farmer and
police officer Michael Martens who lives in a catholic village in the
German countryside called Herzbach with his wife Rosa, their daughter
Sara and their 13-year-old son Christan. The police officer and
citizens in the small community have been marked by an unsolved serial
murder case for the last six years and is still troubled by suspicions
and doubts, but then a special unit headed by chief commissioner Seiler
arrests a suspect named Gabriel Engel in Berlin. A long-time manhunt is
possibly over and the inhabitants of Herzbach can put away some of
their worries, but then all of a sudden a young girl named Lucia
Fiedler vanishes and Michael Martens has to confront the killer who has
been haunting him for years.
Precisely and engagingly directed by German filmmaker Christian Alvart, this harrowing and unsettling fictional tale draws a riveting portrayal of a police officer and family man who while investigating a murder is led astray and drawn into the utterly insane though calculating mind of paedophile serial killer. While notable for it's colorful milieu depictions, stellar production design by German production designer and art director Christian M. Goldbeck and the fine cinematography by German cinematographer Hagen Bogdanski, editing by film editor Philipp Stahl and use of sound, this character-driven and plot-driven horror story which has a fresh approach to the serial killer genre depicts a mindful study of character.
This finely tuned independent film about a policeman's afflicting investigation is impelled and reinforced by the poignant atmosphere which is emphasized by it's religious undertones and dark themes, cogent narrative structure and the commendable acting performances by German actors Wotan Wilte Möhring, André Hennicke and Heinz Hoening. A consistently intriguing psychological thriller which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Actor Wotan Wilte Möhring at the Málaga Spanish Film Festival in 2005.
Look what came out of Germany this time. Normally we get hold of those gory splatters or even their xxx gory ones. But i noticed in my Fangoria vault and on the web that there was more and better coming a few years ago. Antibodies. First of all, again like most German flicks they speak, you guessed it, German. Mostly without subs but this one does have them. So the language is never a problem. It's a slow movie that clocks in over more than 2 hours but don't worry, you will never be bored. The difference between the "Holy"wood movies and this one is that they dare to have a serial killer killing children and what he did with them is all told in an explicit way. For some it will be disturbing, and that's the main difference with the US movies. Se7en and Silence of the Lambs were never disturbing except for the killers. But here we have more, it tells a story about a serial killer who only wants to talk to a small cop meaning nothing in Berlin. What he has to do with killer will be explained further on in the movie. But the guys who are playing the killer and the cop are sublime. The way the cop becomes victim of the killer and how he translate that in his belief in Christ. A must see. I must admit that you will get the plot halfway into the movie but you want to be sure that it is correct that's the reason to watch it until the end. Strange for this kind of flicks but no gore is added, you will see some blood but I can tell it get you by the throat due the child abuse and killings done by him. For me as a horror geek I surely advise people to see this underrated movie, and yes, in 2010 or dearest American folks are making a remake. Do I need to say more?
The opening moments of this movie are extremely well done, and the
moment of grace at the ending was surprisingly well- earned .
Surprising because what comes in the middle is at once unformed, lumpy,
and all too obvious- albeit with some very fine acting. It was said
elsewhere by some commentators that fine performances were given by the
actors who played the serial killer and the senior detective who takes
a liking to the rural cop because he sees the good in him: this is
true. The emotional bond between the senior detective and the younger
country cop he called 'Farmer" was well portrayed, indeed.
Unfortunately, the fine beginning and ending and the fine performances- oh, and also the scenes set in the small village, which were atmospheric- bookended a story that was sloppily told. The payoff at the end comes in spite of, and not because of the bulk of the film. But that payoff was, for me, affecting. I was on the edge of my seat, hoping for all the "right" (this is after all a film which commits itself to a belief in right and wrong) things to happen. Definitely a movie worth watching, and dare I hope that it can be improved upon (probably not, OK) when it is remade...
On the 7th day god watched this movie. Afterwards he mourned: Maybe I made some mistakes yesterday? One archangel replied: Your imperfect creation is at least capable of creating films like this.... Michael, a straight catholic father with part-time jobs (policeman and farmer) is afraid of his grapes of wrath and weakness. Gabriel Engel, the beast without beauty, killed kids to paint with their blood. Michael lives in a small village, in which a young girl was brutally killed one year ago. (Some flashbacks remind of Egoyan's Exotica" not a bad reference)... The more you try to retell the story the more you realize, that you have to see the characters, you have to get in touch with the astonishing score to feel what antikörper" is really about. It's one of this year's best movies with an addictive atmosphere and a giant step ahead for curiosity and the cat"-director Alvart. As far as we know from this movie, he neither believes in one truth, nor innocence. He doubts love and further more happy endings. But he truly believes in miracles and maybe that is what a real cineast is all about.
This is one fine film, it really is something. As it's a crime film,
there must be obviously both a good guy, the protagonist, village cop
Michael Martens played by Wotan Wilke Möhring, and a bad guy, the
antagonist, pedophile and sick murderer Gabriel Engel played by the
astounding Gabriel Hennicke.
Both actors play their roles brilliantly, that's for sure. Hennicke makes of Engel a genius, evil madman that is so eloquent and well articulated - sadly I didn't understand a word though - and evil; how he makes the deeply-believing Catholic and faithful husband cheat on his wife, have anal sex - which is prohibited by the Bible - and question God's goodness is well beyond genius manipulation, that only a sick criminal can do. His performance is really admirable.
Möhring's performance does also deserve applause; the emotions he expresses all throughout the film, the true despair on his face when constantly facing dead ends and anger and disbelief when he is told the true murderer of Lucia, are really worth an award. Although, there's this one part I really did not like and found that he was really bad it: the interrogation scene. He just didn't mean what he was saying, his facial expression and body gesture did not reflect the content of his saying. I get it it reflected his weak persona but still, it was clearly ill-played.
There are many analogies throughout the film, most relative to religion. I see many people saying they were excessive and exaggerated, especially the last one where are heard some excerpts from the Binding of Isaac biblical story. I see different, it embellished the story, making it more tense and suspenseful. But, it's true, it also made it very predictable.
Antikörper is one of the best German films I've ever seen - I haven't seen many yet though. Director and writer Christian Alvart made a captivating motion picture - I've watched it twice - and this had his other films get on my watchlist.
Antibodies has a fairly large Silence of the Lamb influence to it,
which definitely isn't a bad thing. In fact, I would say it's one of
André Hennicke's portrayal of Gabriel Engel is generally psychotic, disturbing, and extraordinary. He steals just about every scene he's in. André was Gabriel. As disturbing as his performance is, it's also truly mesmerizing.
Wotan Wilke Möhring as Michael Martens is also quite good. He does a fantastic job portraying a cop who was once such an abiding citizen who was a religious man who cared very much about his family and is now beginning to lose his grip on his so called perfect life.
The religious parallels are also incredibly interesting and the movie does a good job of pointing them out to you. The similarities between Michael and Abraham are uncanny. The film makes you think you know where it's headed and then winds up taking a detour and going in the opposite direction.
Antibodies has a few flaws that mainly lie within the script, but winds up being an excellent crime/drama/horror/thriller. The story is very well-written, the cast is top notch, excellent cinematography, and the film isn't predictable. Something a lot of movies these days can't claim. Well worth the time to sit down and watch.
This was a pretty good police thriller. Someone recommended it as a
horror, but really, there is nothing to promote horror in the film. It
is, though, promoting all kind of nasty feelings.
The story is pretty complex, but shortened to extreme, it is about a small village cop who goes to meet a captured serial killer in order to determine if the (only) sexual murder that took place in their small catholic community is the murderer's doing or not. You see, as an outstandingly nice person, he needs to know that none of the people in his village are the authors of such a heinous crime.
From then on, it's pretty much Silence of the Lambs, only a lot better, since German killers are clearly more scary than American ones, albeit not so flashy. There is even a jab when the killer first meets the cop he says "who did you expect? Hannibal Lecter?". And it was something very creepy about such a nice guy that is surrounded by assholes and still kept his cool all the time. I would have tortured and killed someone that would kill my dog, accidentally or not.
For a German film, I thought it was very well done with top notch performances, production quality and overall feeling. I do have some issues with it, though. Firstly, the name is so misleading. I was rooting for a biological horror film and I got this. Then it was really long for a slow thriller, two hours long. Shorter would have been better, I say. And lastly the Bible quoting ending. Was that truly necessary?
Bottom line: a nice thriller, with great performances. André Hennicke, interpreting the killer, is like a German Robert Knepper. So, if you can imagine a Silence of the Lambs with no girls, with Robert Knepper as the killer and probably Nicholas Cage as the cop (replaying his Wicker Man role) you would get a pretty similar US remake.
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