Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Import Flix: Tattoo (2002)

I'm not sure what this says about how my Brother sees me.  This is the final Film that I got for Christmas to get around to.  It is...dark.  Real dark.  I mean, DAMN!  The Film is Tattoo, a 2002 movie by Robert Schwentke, a man who's had a somewhat-dubious Career here in America.  Before he made stuff like R.I.P.D. (really?!?), he made this 2002 Film over in Germany.  The Film starts with a bizarre murder, escalates into a personal war against illicit dealings and ends...well, I'll get to that.  To mix things up, we don't have a normal lead.  Instead of being a young, idealistic Cop, he's a Slacker who is basically blackmailed into working for a man that needs his help.  He'll certainly regret ever joining the force in time!  Like I said, this thing gets really dark and bleak.  I'll try to lighten things up...but no promises.  To see why I feel validated for having no tattoos, read on...
A naked lady is wandering the street at night with a wound on her back...before she's hit by a truck.
Our hero just wants a safe, boring job in the German Police Force...but his partying is discovered and a grizzled Cop recruits him for his knowledge of the Underground.  He doesn't have much of a choice.
They find some gross evidence which leads to a suspect and a filthy crime scene.
A key piece of evidence is the skin off of the lady's back, which is covered in a tattoo.  Gross.
A random encounter with this junkie leads our young hero to discover a second skin trade- tattoos!
Apparently some crazy, rich people collect tattoos.  Most buy them legally(ish), but some kill for it!
This young lady was a friend of the victim.  Can she be helpful in bringing the man/men to justice?
The Police work out a sting operation to draw the villain out...but I won't SPOIL more than that.  The End (for you).
This is nice, well-made and really depressing.  The whole thing absolutely works on a technical level.  It is shot well, lit well and doesn't look cheap.  It is well-acted and presents a Story with a unique edge.  I can't complain about any of that.  I should also mention that there are a few Scenes of extreme gore that are merely-implied.  These work especially well given the emotional context of them (which I won't SPOIL).  That's not to say that this Film isn't gory, because it really is!  It is appropriately gross and disgusting, given the subject matter.  This is dismemberment and all, you know!  It tows the line at times, so it doesn't turn into something like Saw.  This one was clearly inspired by stuff like Seven and thankfully came before the Saw Franchise.  Seeing people try to keep up/top that Series as far as gore was not pretty.  This one keeps things balanced by having good, strong Characters and nice Writing.  It is not all about the gore- yea!  It feels as gritty and real as I can only imagine being a Homicide Detective in Germany can be with a case like this.  They don't shy away from the emotional responses here either, helping you deal with it.  If they were all callous and bitter, you might feel disconnected.  As it is, you can relate to their situation and be glad that you aren't really in it!  It would be interesting to see what other people would do with it.  For example, would Luc Besson just cast Liam Neeson and have him running everywhere?
Next up, I cover something lighter.  How about some kung-fu and espionage...from Hammer!  Stay tuned...

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