Plot: What’s it about?
Paula Henning (Franka Potente) is a young medical student who has just been given the chance of a lifetime, in the form of enrollment in an exclusive teaching program, with the very best instructors and resources. She is not just a beautiful, intelligent woman either, she is also filled with positive energy and ambition. In other words, she is a talented young woman with big dreams and all the skills she needs to make those dreams come true. On the train ride to her new school, she meets a young man with health problems, but she helps him and then thinks little else of the encounter. Once she arrives however, she has a reunion with that young man, although under some very unusual circumstances. In one of her classes, the young man turns up on a table, although he is dead and primed for dissection. This tweaks Paula’s interest of course and once she starts to delve into his death, she discovers there is a lot of hidden deeds being done, although she is unsure who is behind them, at least at this time. As he pushes deeper and deeper into the mystery, she uncovers a scheme that will do anything to remain hidden, even if it means putting Paula on the dissection table. Can she keep ahead of the underground system, or will she simply become the next victim?
I love a good horror movie loaded with suspense, so I looked forward to Anatomy, as it seemed to have real potential. Although it wasn’t as dynamic as I had hoped, this movie was still better than most recent horror flicks, so I was pleased with the results. Franka Potente turns in a very solid performance and is backed by a good supporting cast, while the storyline is pretty basic, but with some cool twists thrown in to spice things up at times. So while this is not a totally unique approach to horror, I think there’s enough fresh elements to make it more than worthwhile. I do think some of the “sex and death” connections might scare some folks off, but I never found them to be extreme, more like hinted toward and little else. Even so, the connection is explored to an extent and that might make some people nervous, so I wanted to mention it. There is also a healthy dose of blood and gore, so if you’re squeamish in the least, make sure to peek with eye whenever the chance for the red stuff is present. If you’re a fan of horror movies and need a new flick to test drive, I recommend Anatomy and with such a terrific disc, you’re getting more than your money’s worth.
After she exploded onto the scene, I was worried that Franka Potente might fade out, but I am pleased to see her in more and more films. Although her turn here is more laid back in many ways than we’re used to, she is just as effective and seems strong at all times. I don’t think this is the kind of performance that grabs you, but her character is well played and natural, which is just as good in this case. Of course, make sure to listen to the German language track as you watch, otherwise you’ll miss all the vocal presence Potente showcases. I like her more in the subtle, dialogue driven scenes, but she also works well within the more tense moments, so no serious flaws to discuss on her end. You can also see Potente in such films as Blow, The Princess and The Warrior, Downhill City, and of course, Run Lola Run. The cast of Anatomy also includes Sebastian Blomberg, Benno Furmann (Simply Love, Kiss My Blood), Holger Speckhahn, Traugott Buhre (All About Bob), and Anna Loos (Kai Rabe vs. The Vatican Killers).
Video: How does it look?
Anatomy is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a sharp, impressive treatment, but some flaws do surface, perhaps from the source materials. I saw some grain at times and some unusual color patterns, but I think the color issue is intentional, it certainly fits in to an extent. The colors look solid on the whole, with vivid hues and natural flesh tones, no real complaints to made on this front. I saw no flaws with the contrast either, as shadow depth is excellent and no visible detail loss is evident. I was unable to find any compression problems either, which leaves me to score this one very well, very well indeed.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc includes the original German language track and an English dubbed option, both with Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. As usual, the English dubbed version is a wreck and unless you just cannot tolerate subtitles, the German track is a must and then some. The surrounds see plenty of action in both cases and both present the basics elements well enough, but the English track butchers the dialogue and should be skipped. But aside from the bad voice talent used, the English track matches the German version as far as technical specs go. The disc also includes 2.0 surround options in English, German, and French, as well as subtitles in English and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc bears the special edition banner and it carries a lot of extras, although some aspects don’t delve as deep as I would have liked. An audio commentary with director Stefan Ruzowitzky is included, but this one might throw some folks for a loop. The comments are in German, but you can enable a subtitle track that translates the words, which is good. This makes the track a little harder to follow, but I was pleased with the information provided and I think it is well worth the time, as well as additional effort. Two featurettes have also been included and once again, the audio is German and English subtitles have been provided. The general behind the scenes piece runs about five minutes and offers little insight, while the very brief makeup featurette had some cool glimpses at the special effects work created for the flick. This disc also includes two deleted scenes, a storyboard comparison feature, some talent files, a music video, a selection of production photos, and the film’s theatrical trailer.