ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY. Bitter irony of fate
In my opinion, a good science fiction work consists of two equally essential elements. The first is, of course, the “science” factor, meaning the idea upon which the creator builds the presented world. When the audience hears about this idea, they should feel intrigued enough to want to engage with the work. The second element is the “human” factor, which lends credibility to the events depicted. It could be a moral thread, a journey theme, a search theme – anything that helps establish a connection with the characters and aids in immersing oneself in the story being told. The first thread allows for saying something interesting about the world, and the second about the human living in that world. Errors of the Human Body had the potential to bring something truly interesting to both aspects. Unfortunately, right after watching it, one might get the impression that the screenwriter took a completely different direction than expected, even just considering the title.
The main character of Errors of the Human Body is Dr. Geoff Burton, who takes a job at the renowned Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. His motivation is the desire to find a cure for a genetically mutated disease that claimed the life of his newborn son. Upon arrival, Geoff learns that the scientists at the institute have been conducting research on accelerated tissue regeneration for some time, which could potentially lead to improving the human body in the future. Burton also notices that the atmosphere at the institute does not promote collaboration, and researchers are willing to go quite far to secure the privilege of signing under a revolutionary discovery.
Errors of the Human Body ‘s plot description sharpens the appetite for a suspenseful thriller that thoroughly explores the moral boundaries of conducting research and the pursuit of a goal at any cost. If someone, like me, expected such a turn of events, they would be sorely disappointed. The research thread and the accompanying ethical dilemmas are, in reality, only a pretext that the screenplay does not develop properly. The film’s characters could be working on literally anything – from searching for a new scent of shampoo to identifying as-yet-undiscovered celestial bodies. From the standpoint of the film’s overall message, this almost does not matter. However, this is just a digression; after all, a film should not be judged for what it is NOT.
The main emphasis is placed on two threads: competition among scientists and how Geoff copes with the tragedy that befell his family. One might get the impression that the debut director and screenwriter in one person does not quite know how to present these threads. Initially, there is a drama that calmly unfolds with the characters in the sterile hallways, only to give hope of entering the realm of science fiction and shifting towards the aforementioned thriller. There is even a place for a costume ball scene reminiscent of David Lynch, looking as if it is on the border between dream and reality. The worst part, however, is that for the first 30 minutes (as well as the last 20), it’s not entirely clear where all this is heading.
The film has an idea to depict the heavy and cold atmosphere inside the institute. For a relatively low-budget independent production, Errors of the Human Body by Eron Sheean looks and sounds surprisingly good. The problem lies in filling this atmosphere with content, making the 100-minute production feel about 40 minutes too long. Especially since, in the end, the culmination of the whole intrigue is not an interesting thought but rather the expression “shit happens” and the highlighting of bitter irony of fate.