Set in Catalonia, Painless weaves two stories: in one, starting during the Spanish Civil War and running through to the '60s, an asylum attempts to rehabilitate children who feel no pain, ... See full summary »
Seeking a new laboratory to pursue his controversial genetic research, Dr Geoff Burton takes up a position at the world-renowned Institute for Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics in wintry Dresden, Germany. His contribution to their most top-secret project - a human regeneration gene - has the potential to make something miraculous out of a personal tragedy that has haunted him for years. But when he uncovers a conspiracy amongst his colleagues, he finds instead something quite different: a terrifying new virus, with potentially devastating consequences for humanity - and for Geoff, who is not only its first victim, but its unwitting source. Written by
You know, mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas, ticks - they all carry disease, yes? But instead of spreading sickness, why not change the formula. Make them carry genetically modified viruses? Anti-genes to our own plan. Imagine using this in the Third World; in Africa. They're going to be bitten anyway. Why not let them catch the "malaria vaccine", instead?
Hmm. But then you would first have to invent a "malaria vaccine", right?
You don't think it's possible?
I didn't say that.
You know Stalin, Mao ...
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The film depicts a bare, rough and industrial vision of Germany which seemed to be in perfect harmony with the isolation of the main character.
It was after watching The Call (2013) that I decided to browse through Michael Eklund's filmography hoping to find other portrayals of deranged characters. Errors of the Human Body is a title that immediately hooked me and I wanted to know more. The poster looked marvelous and it seemed to have won some awards and nominations so I decided to see it.
Doctor Geoff Burton was once renowned and a beacon of hope to the medical field, but a rare genetic condition that led to his son's death ruined him.On the verge of being fired he accepts a job offer in Germany. The transfer was supported by a young female doctor who was once Burton's intern and with whom he had a liaison. Once he arrives, he discovers what Rebekka is working on: a way to have cells regenerated extremely fast. However, the processes which work in amphibians seems bound to failure when tested in mammal embryos. This is until Jarek, Rebekka's previous partner on the project, tries it illegally on a mouse. Geoff, who was following the scene, steals the mouse in either desperate scientific interest or a desire to protect Rebekka's project. From there on, Geoff's mental health begins to deteriorate as he enters a conflict with Jarek and is plagued by his past.
I was quite pleased with what strikes first in the movie: the constant ambient low tune of disturbing music and the quality of the medical environment which was not portrayed in the typical scientific way, but was filmed in a way that made it beautiful. The story is quite simple overall but the flashback of the past along with the deterioration of everything around Geoff makes the movie really smooth. Geoff Burton's character reminded me in many ways of the protagonist in The Machinist (2004).
Eklund really shines in this deranged guilt-ridden persona, although he might now be typecast as the new crazy actor (that'll give Michael Shannon a break). The scene at the party with loud electronic music, bright neon colors and costumes is really a pleasure to see. In the background, a great deal of moral issues are dealt with, but the first plane is always about Geoff.
The film depicts a bare, rough and industrial vision of Germany which seemed to be in perfect harmony with the isolation of the main character. I couldn't help but wish there was more that was done with the tools we were shown. In the end it felt like a really lonely and caustic movie. At least it managed what Splice (2009) didn't; to make research in medicine look good. I wish there was more and maybe this is where the movie feels a little short in its unfolding. I think I felt really similar after watching Antiviral (2012) where I loved the world I was thrown in and it was visually astounding, but the story left me wanting for more.
I liked: Constant background noises and music. Geoff and Eklund's acting. Exploration and depiction of guilt.
I disliked: There was more to do, more to say. Some scenes seemed unrealistic--for example, a chase scene with a mouse is far stretched-- the protagonist was after all a top notch scientist.
72/100 I'm really going to look forward to future movies by Eron Sheean. I like his directorial work. I would recommend this to those who enjoyed Antiviral (2012) and also maybe Upstream Color (2013).
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