Saturday, 29 March 2014

Anatomy AKA Anatomie (2000)

Strike a pose

A dark and disturbing thriller from Germany, Anatomy (or Anatomie, the title which makes it a bit easier to find on Amazon and other DVD sites) is as entertaining as it is hugely implausible. It has some great set-pieces, and a shock, about 8 minutes in, that really hammers home the nastiness of the main premise.

Franka Potente stars as a young woman, Paula, who wins a place at the Heidelberg medical school. On the way there she befriends Gretchen (Anna Loos), a young woman who was also at her school but who never appeared to be aiming for the top tier of further education. It turns out that Gretchen is smarter than she likes to make out, but she also really, really likes to make out. When the two get to Heidelberg, and are allocated to their shared room, they soon start to realise that the challenge ahead of them is as tough as they expected. And, to make things tougher, one of the dissecting tables carries the body of a young man that the girls just bumped into on the train journey to the school. Paula starts to investigate further, wanting to find out where the body came from, and she soon upsets some of her classmates, as well as her professor (Traugott Buhre). And, eventually, she finds herself in a pretty dangerous situation.

Thanks to some solid writing and direction from Stefan Ruzowitzky, with help from Peter Engelmann, Anatomy is never less than good entertainment. The solid cast help a lot, but the fact is that this is a fantastic premise, exploited to great effect. While aiming for tension on most occasions, there are still some great moments of gore, and there's plenty of black humour to make it all more entertaining.

Potente is a likeable lead, and Loos develops into a lovely supporting character alongside her. Benno Furmann, Sebastian Blomberg, Holger Speckhahn and Oliver Wnuk also do good work, playing a variety of characters who may or may not have something to hide, and Buhre is perfectly fine as the harsh, but fair, professor.

If you think about it for more than a minute or two then Anatomy is undone by its own ridiculousness, but while the film is on it keeps you entertained and distracted enough to stop you from thinking about it. I highly recommend this one to thriller fans.


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