Following divorce from his wife and the loss of his son to a rare genetic mutation, Canadian geneticist Geoff Burton relocates to the harsh, wintry scenery of Dresden, Germany to work on groundbreaking new project that might just be his key to redemption. When teamed up with his former intern and colleague Rebekka, he starts working on a human regenerative gene with direct ties to his personal tragedy, yet matters prove increasingly difficult: jealous co-workers’ feelings are ruffled, old flames are rekindled and personal demons become consistently harder to suppress in this new and oppressive work environment. Still haunted by the memory of his wife and his failures to have saved his deceased son, Burton finds himself maddeningly close to a medical breakthrough, yet quickly spiralling out of control. Collapsing his career and personal life into a dark and increasingly dangerous tunnel-vision of competitive genetics, delusions of all kinds and the terrifying potential of massive discoveries gone awry, Burton is quite literally the stranger in the strange land. The question remains: how far will Burton be willing to go to atone for the errors of his past?
Written and directed by Eron Sheean, who penned last year’s THE DIVIDE, ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY is an unsettling, stylistically bold look at the personal and ethical horrors of modern genetic engineering, oscillating quite ambiguously between pure science and terrifying science fiction. Entirely shot on location at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany, Sheean’s feature film debut is a feat of atmospherics and melancholy, launching the viewer in a cold and grippingly realistic world, highly reminiscent of 2009’s SPLICE in climate yet worlds apart as far as characterization and tone are concerned. Eerie and disconcertingly foreign in scale, the cut-throat world of scientific progress is nonetheless a merely stunning backdrop to Sheean’s mesmerizing personal downward spiral — a cocktail of regret and despair at the centre of which Michael Eklund (THE DIVIDE) stands tall, silent and damaged. Karoline Herfurth (PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER) and Tomas Lemarquis (NOI THE ALBINO) co-star in what is ultimately one of the most beautifully quiet, contemplative and profoundly alienating takes on modern scientific progress since Cronenberg’s CRIMES OF THE FUTURE — an independent film showcasing deep-seated moral and ethical dilemmas and breathtakingly nihilistic images that will haunt you long after the final, gut-wrenching truth is revealed through the test tube.
— Ariel Esteban Cayer