German arthouse movie. Doesn't fill you with a desire to rush out and buy it does it? Well in the words of Jim Steinman “Stop right there!” Because if you have never watched a single German movie before you are going to want to watch this one. Director Robert Schwentke is a virgin when it comes to directing, but he has a long background in writing thrillers and cop dramas for TV and he brings all this experience to the table in Tattoo. Made in 2002, it is thanks to Tartan Video we are able to enjoy the very best in foreign movies and this darkly disturbing, brutally horrific film certainly falls into this category.
You know from the opening credits that you are in for a pretty tough ride. We open on a black screen with desperate, breathless, panting coming from all speakers. From the darkness a woman emerges, stumbling along a bleak, deserted street, she is naked and dripping blood from a flayed wound on her back. She is just about to reach the sanctuary of a brightly lit bar when....well, that would be telling. And it is a tale well worth watching. The story unfolds with veteran, jaded cop Minks (Christian Dedl) appointed to investigate the flaying. He appoints a lazy, disillusioned police cadet named Schrader (August Drehl) to help him with his inquiries, hoping that Schrader's knowledge of the underground rave scene will help him track down the serial killer who appears to be bumping people off for their body art.
It is clear to see the influences in Schwentke's genre flick. The barren, rain soaked, nameless city, one jaded cop and one rookie. There is even a parcel with a chillingly gruesome “gift” for one of the investigating cops. Yes folks it is Seven all over again, but when it is a well made, well written and compelling as this I really don't care. I don't think you will either. Covering much the same ground as its illustrious forebear, Tattoo still has one or two shocks, twists and turns up its sleeve. A commentary on disillusioned youth, community apathy, and consumerism, it manages to be thought provoking as well as entertaining. Like Seven this is no easy watch, but if you like your cop drama's raw, gritty, insightful and bleak, then take a seat.