Paula, played by Franka Potente (“Run Lola Run,”“The Bourne Supremacy”), is brilliant. She is one of only a handful of medical students who has been chosen to finish their education at the famed school of Anatomy in Heidelberg. Her future career is looking bright until she is asked to dissect the corpse of someone she has just met, and she discovers that all is not as it appears at the school.
First, let me say that the effects in this film are stunning. “Plasticized” corpses stand posed in the school’s laboratory, muscle and sinew exposed as they are forced into strange, anatomical positions. They look absolutely convincing.
The acting, thanks to Potente and a strong cast, is also above average for this type of film…as long as you stick with the German audio (“Anatomy” comes from that country) and English subtitles, otherwise you’re in for a bumpy ride. One of Paula’s roommates is an equally brilliant young woman, who also happens to be a blonde babe interested in studying the anatomy of live males as opposed to dead ones. As played (and voiced) by the original actress, musician Anna Loos, she’s completely convincing; you believe she has an intelligent mind housed in that amazing body. As voiced by the dubbed actress however, she becomes a dumb blonde in a teen horror film. Better yet, think of how convincing Denise Richards was as a nuclear scientist in “The World Is Not Enough” and you’ve got the right idea.
The film is terrific in the first half, when we, along with Paula, try to figure out just what the hell is going on. It becomes a bit heavy handed in the second half as a conspiracy theory unfolds. That doesn’t make it a bad film, just not a great one.
“Anatomy” is smart, sexy, suspenseful, and worth a watch. Ultimately, it adds nothing new to the genre, but it’s a solid entry with unusually strong characters.
This review was fueled by an orange and grapefruit juice combo and, of course, the new album, “Reise Reise” by Rammstein. Taco gives it 4 out of 5 (the album…the juice rates a 5).
Pros:Franka rocks my world. Great effects. Strong acting.
Cons: A bit too much in the final two reels; you’ll wonder how it was all pulled off without anyone noticing.
Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 twitching, headless corpses.
Also known as: “Anatomie”
103 Minutes; Germany
Rated R for terror violence/gore, some sexuality and language.
Franka Potente (Paula Henning)
Benno Fürmann (Hein)
Anna Loos (Gretchen)
Sebastian Blomberg (Caspar)
Holger Speckhahn (Phil)
Traugott Buhre (Prof. Grombek)
Directed by: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Viewing Format: DVD
(Originally published on HorrorWatch)