Reviewed by: Dave Murray
Wotan Wilke Möhring
What's it about
After the capture of a violent serial killer (Hennicke) with a thing for children's underwear, a village cop (Möhring) in rural Germany goes on a personal crusade of revenge and madness as he discovers the true killer of his tortured son's best friend.
Is it good movie?
This was not what I was expecting at all. At first, I had the feeling that this was going to be just another Silence of the Lambs ripoff. Well, I'll be the first to admit it, I was wrong. While the movie even goes so far as to comically reference Hannibal Lecter in one scene, Antikörper is an original and entertaining exploration of the madness in a father's soul, and the terribly frightening psyche of one seriously f**ked up dude! I'll admit, the opening scenes of the killer's capture didn't hold my attention (well, except for the painting with the blood of his victims, now that was neat), but very soon this low-key and emotional film from Germany had me hooked up like a travelling teenager in a house full of mutant hillbillies!
The movie was nicely shot for a semi-indie effort, and the scenery or rural Germany looked gorgeous and atmospheric. The performances themselves were great for what they had to be, even if they were a little wooden at times. Of particular note was the killer (played by André Hennicke), whose stoic faced delivery of his messiah like complex was chilling. Also of note was Wotan Wilke Möhring's portrayal of MIchael, the tortured rural sherrif with a sketchy family history. The movie was filled with plot sevices and twists that helped to drive the narrative along (the boxes of sperm covered underwear hidden behind a false wall was a creepy touch), but the big twist came as no surprise. In the way that Michael dealt with his sone from the beginning made the ending fall a little flat, even if the resolution was not what I was expecting.
Director Alvert did an excellent job keeping the flow of the flick going, and he displayed some directing chops with his moody shot composition and stark lighting. And it was cool to see Norman Reedus in a blink-or-miss supporting role during the opening scene. Too bad he was so underused. His talent could have taken this one from being good to the realms of greatness.
Definately worth watching, if only for the interplay of very different personalities, and a creepy premise played out on a low-key stage. The ending is a bit of a letdown, but the build up was well handled and finely presented.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1.
Audio: German (Dolby Digital 5.1) and subtitles in English.
Antikörper is the type of movie we don't often see anymore: An intelligent, thought filled and moody psychological drama/thriller with enough grool and pathos to make any fan of the genre happy. While it does fall flat at times, at its heart it is a solid genre piece, and a much more effective look at the various states of violent madness in all of us than recent serial killer outings (Hannibal Rising anyone?). Check this one out if you like the whole serial killer inspired intrigue field, or if you have a hankering for a well made and decently produced and acted psycho thriller. But a word of warning: with a movie so dialogue heavy that is subtitled, you may need two viewings. One for the story and another for the sweet and moody visuals. An interesting take on the serial killer psyche and the havoc it creates for all of those who come near it.