ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY: the trigger of interest in the notion of the body as a machine that can simply miscalculate and crash, in comparison to the emotional heart of desires that can change the course of history and which we associate with the very notion of humanity. Combine this with the movie’s press information about experiments in Dresden (Germany) and embryos, the potential outcome suggests traces of eugenics, Nazidom and development. Sure enough, this unflinching film demands intellectual engagement and integrity from its audience. It is an audacious, delicate, touching step forward for first-time feature director Eron Sheean (writer of last years’ award-winning THE DIVIDE). ERRORS takes a little while to get going, but avoids THE DIVIDE’s clichés when it does.
ERRORS follows Geoffrey (Michael Eklund), a formerly reputable scientist whose career stalls when his baby son falls victim to an unknown condition that encases his body in tumours and will suffocate him from inside out. We meet him as he takes up a post at a research lab focusing on curing genetic abnormalities and tries to fit in amongst the wildly diverse staff, including slippery manager Samuel Mead (Rik Mayall); intense researcher and admirer Jarek (Tomas Lemarquis); and his former intern Rebekka (Karoline Hurfurth), now a respected researcher in her own right. Geoff is immediately taken aback by the lack of social skills evident in this rather anti-Darwinist community (would you want a man who wants to be a fly to be a father?), but also by their happiness to co-opt his grief to consolidate their own experimental, unregulated work.
Geoff soon finds his work research entangled with his loathing of the conniving Jarek (well played by Lemarquis, although looking rather too unusual for the role, his affections for his assistant and his distrust of Mead (Mayall in Rik Mayall Presents form… barring one irresistible cackle). As the plot goes on, it plays to every concern people have about the scientific community and how the obsession necessary to study at that depth can appear to outsiders versus the very real belief that you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. However, it handles the subject sensitively and the use of the wintry landscapes and confined spaces combines with Sheean’s delicate direction and Aklund’s haunted yet furious portrayal of Geoff to produce something that appears similar to Robert De Niro’s FRANKENSTEIN in quality. Add to this several fight scenes and some inspired, symbolic uses of costume and the supposedly sterile science becomes a mirror of the characters’ volcanic emotions.
ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY is not a film for a fun Friday evening. It asks the audience to consider the notion of ethics in the communities in which we wish to live. The finale also tells you that you can not properly repair any machine if your heart isn’t in it – it’s an artistic, thoughtful triumph.
Dr Karen Oughton
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