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Errors of the Human Body


What sci-fi should be.

Rod Lott August 7th, 2013

It's too easy to compare Errors of the Human Body to the "body horror" entries on David Cronenberg's CV — too easy because it's all too apt. As much as it brings that master director to mind, the new film is original enough to stand on its own terms.

errorshuman

Fresh from relishing villainy in The Call, the near-unrecognizable Michael Eklund cleans up nice as Dr. Geoffrey Burton, a reluctant geneticist specializing in embryonic abnormalities for very personal reasons. He leaves the University of Massachusetts behind to continue his controversial research in Dresden, Germany — a far less-politicized environment.

But Eron Sheean's film is not about politics. It's about the so-called "Easter Gene," which has displayed remarkable powers of regeneration in the experimental phases conducted by Rebekkah (Karoline Herfurth, We Are the Night), Burton's former intern and former lover. If her gene could work on mammals, it would be the scientific breakthrough of the century — perhaps even the millennium.

This being a work of sci-fi, of course, things do not proceed as planned — at least not per Burton's plans.

Crisp and intelligent, Errors of the Human Body is what the genre should be — or at least should be more often. We get too many fighting robots and men of steel and star treks as it is, so seeing the science put back into science fiction is special.

A newcomer to features, Sheean makes a splash, signaling him as a talent worthy of watching, both now and in the future. I'm guessing the budget for Errors left room for no errors, because he pays particular visual attention to the built-in production value known as architecture, inside and out.

That's not to say his human stars don't deliver; the chameleon-like Eklund exudes a scruffy Everyman quality that's a mix of Paul Rudd, Ethan Hawke and Aaron Eckhart ... until it becomes infused with the DNA of another actor's certain role that Cronenberg made famous. As Dr. Burton's rival, in both matters of the lab and of the heart, Tómas Lemarquis is absolutely menacing.

For a brief peek into Sheean's thought process for Errors, click over to the IFC Midnight DVD's bonus menu. There lies a Q-and-A, in which Sheean is heard, but oddly unseen; in his place is a white mouse. I promise the movie is not that frustratingly enigmatic and arty. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
The Call Blu-ray review    



 
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