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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Some renowned but traumatized geneticist named Burton takes a job in Germany to establish some research lab there. We learn that his son was born with multiple cancers that developed in a matter of days and killed him. The disease came to be known as Burton's disease. His wife has already someone else in her life but he can't get over her. He's a complete wreck.
At the institute he runs into Rebekka, a former student who surprises him with some remarkable news. She's developed an easter egg gene that re-generates tissues in amphibians. She cuts one in half and it starts uniting again. But she needs him to help her make the jump to mammals. But they also had a fling in the past.
Also at the lab is another creepy researcher named Jarek who's also interested in Burton helping him. He wants to develop a mutation so that mosquitoes carry vaccines instead of viruses thus immunizing those they bite, instead of infecting them. It would be a great way to get eliminate diseases like malaria, so common in poor countries where mosquitoes abound. But because he's so creepy, acting more like a stalker, Burton doesn't want anything to do with him. But this guy is also experimenting on mice.
Burton gets closer to Rebekka, who initially makes it clear that she wants the relationship to remain professional. One night he goes to her lab to leave a note. Instead he finds someone breaking into her lab and stealing a sample. He follows the guy to the mice lab where Jarek is. He uses the sample to inject a mouse. Burton decides to wait and later takes the mouse home with him and also one of Rebekka's many samples that Jarek has in the fridge.
When Burton talks to the institute's director about the theft of Rebekka's work, he finds out that Jarek and Rebakka were research partners and that the easter egg discovery was a joint effort. From there on, Burton starts getting paranoid. He thinks he's being set up or used for some sinister purposes. He keeps calling his wife but now she won't talk to him. He keeps having visions of her pregnancy and the birth of the baby. While handling the mouse, it ended up biting him. He eventually ends up confronting everyone but his fate is sealed.
Errors of the Human Body is a fantastic title for a movie. And the movie starts out strong giving you high hopes. But things don't at all turn out the way you hope. And that is unfortunate. The movie really takes us in a direction we don't want to go. One problem is the Burton character. He's too much of a wreck to root for. You sympathize with a him a bit, but not enough. So he makes a terrible lead character. Then there the Jarek character who's downright charicaturesque in his creepiness.
The story is solid, if not excellent. And I'm giving this movie high marks for the science and the ideas. The problem is the execution. I did like the attention to detail, the little things, but overall a near fatal flaw of the movie is the European pace reduced almost to slow-motion. The movie isn't long but it feels like it's a 3 hour movie.
While filmed in Dresden, a photogenic city, we get to see nothing of it. And as usual for something filmed in Germany, it's during winter. Are German actors banned by law from working when the sun shines? By their movie and TV productions, you would think that Germany suffers from an eternal winter.
I'm rating this movie a bit higher than it deserves, for the main reason that it doesn't treat the audience like morons but gives it a lot to think about, and it does so until the very end.
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