Anatomie (2000)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 16, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Sony (Australia). Region 2 & 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). German DD 5.1, English DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1. English, German, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish Subtitles. 95 minutes
The Movie
Director: Stefan Ruzowitsky
Starring: Franka Potente, Benno Furmann, Anna Loos, Holger Speckhahn, Sebastian Blomberg Screenplay: Stefan Ruzowitsky
Music: Marius Ruhland
Tagline: The Subject Is You
Country: Germany
Anatomie was born from the popularity of American slashers in the nineties: the next generational slasher genre that included such films as the Scream trilogy, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend. It was the intention of the producers and the writer of Anatomie to make a film that would hold up with the American slashers of this time, and it does.

Anatomie tells of medical student Paula Henning (Franka Potente), whose family has a history of being in medicine. Her grandfather was the Dean of the exclusive Heidelberg Medical School and her father (Rudiger Volger) is a G.P. When Paula is accepted into The Heidelberg Medical School, her father is less than impressed, especially when Paula suggests she wants to be more than just a G.P. On the train to Heidelberg, she meets fellow student, Gretchen (Anna Loos) and soon comes to the assistance of David (Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey) who suffers from a rare inoperable heart condition. When Paula is in Anatomy class at school she is taught by Professor Grumbeck (Traugott Buhre), and she soon has her abilities as a potential Doctor challenged by having to perform an autopsy on David. She discovers that David's corpse has some anomalies not related to his disorder and that he has a brand of 'AAA' on his ankle. Upon further investigation after the autopsy, she is threatened by a bunch of Anti Hippocratic order of medicos, or is it just by one of the many seemingly strange men that have entered her life….

This film has the option of watching it with either an English dub or with English subtitles. Rest assured, watching this film in German with English subtitles is the ONLY way to watch it. The English dubbed translation is extraordinarily lacking and makes most of the characters sound like fools, whereas the subtitles keep the intelligence of the characters up to the standard of medical students. The wonderful models of the stripped human bodies are clearly inspired by Dr Guther Von Hagens' Body Worlds traveling exhibition, some of which can be seen in the excellent TV series Anatomy for Beginners (available on DVD).
The picture is in 2.35:1 enhanced and remains clear and free of any artifacts throughout the entire feature.
The audio track is in Dolby Digital 5.1, but you tend not to notice it as you are reading the subtitles. It is an excellent, moody track though.
Extra Features
There are two trailers on this disc: the Theatrical Trailer (1 minute 10 seconds) and the Teaser (47 seconds).

The Gallery is a scrolling slideshow with some of the most horrific lounge music you shall ever hear… made me long for Mel Torme and his Orchestra!!

The interviews section (21 minutes 14 seconds) has interviews with four cast members and three of the crew. Of the cast members, Benno Furmann, Anna Loos, Franka Potente and Holger Speckhahn get a go, and of the crew, Producer Andrea Wilson, Executive Producer Jakob Claussen and director Stefan Ruzowitzky. Together these interviews make an interesting look at the making of this film, and what each individual thought of their role, character motivations and each other.

The commentary is by writer/director Stefan Ruzowitzky and is a thorough and fascinating look at his filmmaking. He really grasps everything that his characters are involved in and has reasons for their situations. This commentary is in German and has English subtitles.

There is music clip from Anna Loos, who played Gretchen in the film and was once the singer of punk band Leck Mich am Arsch (which can mean either Kiss My Ass! Or Eat Shit and Die!, either way, a great name for a German Punk band) called My Truth (4 minutes 3 seconds).

There are two deleted scenes, each of which can be played with or without the directors (subtitled) commentary: Disposal of Body (3 minute 14 seconds) and Hein chases Paula (1 minute 45 seconds). His discussions of why these scenes had to be removed are an interesting look into the antagonist/ protagonist identification problem…quite fascinating!

Special Make Up Effects Featurette (2 minutes 26 seconds) is a subtitled look into the Effects workshop for this film. If you like special effects features, this is interesting but far too brief, and the lounge music soundtrack makes it feel like you are watching a badly made travelogue or cheap porno film.

Making of Featurette (4 minutes 52 seconds), is again subtitled, and interesting but too short to appreciate fully. The advantage that these short featurettes have is that they are supported by the cast interviews mentioned previously.

Storyboard to Film Comparison is a split screen look at incredibly badly drawn storyboards, with notes, in German and the relevant film sequence they represent.

This disc also has text Filmography highlights of Franka Potante and director Stefan Ruzowitzky.
The Verdict
An interesting and entertaining film that doesn't treat the characters as the usual 'bimbo slasher fodder', especially when you consider they are all highly educated and top students in their fields. But don't let this alter the fact that there are several plot holes, but that's to be expected in most horror films. Light on the gore, Anatomie does however have some spectacular displays of model-making when it comes to the dissected bodies on display, and all in all is a pretty good thriller. Tragically, its popularity gave birth to the malodorous Anatomie 2!
Movie Score
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