The International Anatomie Man

Time for a few quick movie reviews.

Man On Wire – I first heard about this engaging doco when it came out last year and then saw a few intriguing minutes at a Borders store. The documentary has a simple premise. It chronicles a Frenchman’s desire to walk between the Twin Towers in New York. Of course, a feat of that magnitude could never be achieved on any skyscraper these days. I suppose those extreme athletes who scale walls and jump off high-rises in parachutes would be close, but Phillipe Petit’s daring 1974 45 minute high wire act had a charmingly low-tech approach. With interviews with the man himself and his network of friends, it feels like another Ocean’s 11 installment. There’s no mention of the 9/11 attack as the film makers wanted the sense of magic to remain intact. The detailed research and impressive re-enactments really give the film a suspense and tension straight out of a Hitchcock film. With each new revelation you’ll be wondering just how Petit and his crew got away with it. You’ll be shaking your head at disbelief throughout the whole film, which I guess is what magic does.

The International – Starring Clive Owen (you can really see why he was a James Bond contender) and Aussie Naomi Watts this film is directed by Tom Twyker. The critics have been raving about it, but really it’s not an all out action thriller at all. The only time it comes remotely to such is the great set piece set in the Guggenheim Museum in New York. After far too many scenes (ie, pretty much all of them) involving people talking about the evil bank that funds international terrorism I lost interest. It’s smart and looks high-class and I applaud the unique approach that makes it more of a talky thriller than a gunfight-centred film, but it just needed a better balance. Twyker also directed the great German film Run Lola Run and the not so great Princess and The Warrior. Hiis next film is based on the time-spanning novel, Cloud Atlas.

Anatomie – This 2000 German film is a winner. With a plot like a Michael Crichton novel, it’s a classy thriller. It stars Run Lola Run’s Franka Potente as a young med student who goes to the renowned Heidleberg Medical School and soon discovers a secret society of students and teachers known as the Antihippocratic Society. To say much more would be to ruin it, but it’s no surprise that this was a hit in its country of origin. Supremely paced and never overly grisly, it’s edge of your seat stuff. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky also directed the sequel, which has Potente appear in a pointless cameo. It stars a different group of students, and school and a group who this time are experimenting with high-tech muscle replacements. It’s more action and less thriller than the original, but is still worth a look. You’ve probably figured out that Anatomie is German for anatomy by now. If you don’t mind subtitles, and you shouldn’t, check these two films out.

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