Errors of the Human Body (2012 1 hr, 41 mins)
Genetic research has always been a fascinating topic, even if you are the general layperson like myself. I loved high school biology class mainly due to my teacher, the wonderful Mr. Shimbos, but unless there was a sci-fi movie afoot, that was the extent of my science career. Errors of the Human Body peaked my interest again with its intense, atmospheric and complicated sci-fi story.
Geoffrey Burton (Michael Eklund) is a well-known genetic researcher who is haunted by the death of his newborn son. He has championed research on the rare disease that robbed him of his child, and travelled to Germany to continue that research after he was pushed out of the University of Massachusetts due to what seemed to be a conflict of ideologies. In Germany, he is reunited with his intern and ex-lover Rebekka (Karoline Herfurth), and meets various odd scientists at the lab. One of these scientists, Jarek (Tomas Lemarquis), has strong ideas and tries to gain Geoff’s assistance with his research, but is so odd that he puts off nearly everyone around him. Add a rivalry between Rebekka and Jarek, plus some secret experimentations and you have a complex, if somewhat long, science fiction thriller that makes you wonder what will happen next.
I loved Michael Eklund as Geoffrey. He really harnessed how disconnected this character was after the death of his son and end of his marriage. You had a sense that Geoff couldn’t move past these traumas and could only stay connected by calling his ex-wife who was trying to move on with her life. Eklund really impressed me with his performance in The Divide as the crazed Bobby, and shows his incredible range as a tortured soul here. And yes, he’s Canadian (yay!). Tomas Lemarquis also stood out for me. His portrayal as the awkward but diabolical scientist Jarek made you want to run from him one minute, and hear him out the next. I must also note that Lemarquis has had Alopecia universalis since he was 13, an autoimmune disorder that makes all your hair fall out. I too suffered from this disorder when I was the same age. My hair grew back, but even so, I am never truly free of it, and I applaud him for doing his thing despite not looking like the status quo. The real star, however, was the lab mouse. It managed to survive being stolen, kept in a can and minor injury to make it to some of the final scenes. Good on ya, mousey!
Eron Sheean, co-writer and director of the film (who also co-wrote The Divide), did a good job, but I found the film to be a bit on the long side. He did manage create an isolation that I felt mirrored what the main character was going through, especially with the dream-like flashbacks. The cinematography by Anna Howard was also quite stunning. It reflected the clinical nature of the story with starkness and clean lines. There were some cool scenes of mitosis throughout the film, and the haunting soundtrack by Anthony Pateras kept the suspenseful tone consistent.
If you’re a fan of Michael Eklund and like science, check this movie out. It’s dark and has a heartbreaking twist that will get you where it hurts.
Favourite Scene: At a costume party thrown for all the crazy scientists. Jarek’s lab partner is dressed in drag, beard and all, and gives Geoffrey a withering look. Not quite as effective when he is wearing a dress and red lips. And Geoffrey? Have to say he looked kind of hot in the dead head makeup…yeah, I know, don’t ask…