Errors of the Human Body review: scientists are people too
More brooding thinkpiece than sci-fi thriller, and yet fans of brooding thinkpieces may not be wholly satisfied, either.
I’m “biast” (pro):
I’m a big ol’ science fiction geek always on the lookout for real SF onscreen
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Chop off a salamander’s tail, and it grows a new one. Could there be a dormant gene in human DNA that might be activated in order to allow us to regenerate lost limbs or diseased organs? Canadian researcher Dr. Geoff Burton (the Ethan Hawke-esque Michael Eklund) thinks so, and he arrives at a private lab in Germany to work on the problem with a local former assistant (Karoline Herfurth: The Reader) who may have had a breakthrough. But it’s not just work that has sent Burton far from home: he’s recently divorced after the death of his infant son. Might that death have been prevented by the very discovery the scientist is striving toward? Is that what is leading Burton to do some very odd things and take some very big chances with his work now? Don’t be misled by some of the synopses for this flick that are floating around on the Web: this isn’t a plague-disaster story, and even to call it a medical thriller is straining for a sense of suspense that the film really never achieves. As with so many other indie SF flicks, Errors doesn’t really know quite what to do with its intriguing conceit, once it finally finds it after flailing around for a while. But director and cowriter Eron Sheean creates a moody atmosphere of grief and obsession hanging over Burton — Eklund is a brooding, doleful presence — to highlight the film’s most successful aspect: its technocratic philosophizing, with a particular ironic focus on how even supposedly rational science is achieved only when irrationality is part of the mix. If only the film had taken that notion just a little bit farther.