Tattoo

Taut, nasty German thriller

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OPENS DECEMBER 5, CERT 18, 110 MINS

Tattoo is a lot like Seven. Very similar in style and mood (dark and downbeat, but in a cool way). Rings a few bells plot-wise (methodical serial killer establishes a baroque pattern of murders). Central characters?world-weary detective and brash young recruit?seem familiar, although Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are replaced in their respective roles by German actors Christian Redl and August Diehl. Derivative though it is, director Robert Schwentke just about keeps things grisly and flashy enough to stop you from sitting there checking off further comparisons. When bodies start turning up flayed and mutilated, the resulting investigation takes Redl and Diehl deep into the Berlin underworld, where they uncover an illicit trade in tattooed skin. The outcome is never in doubt once an obvious suspect arrives on the scene, although it hardly matters; the film’s main concern is the extensive catalogue of gory details and fetish objects that it pores over lovingly, with Schwentke’s shock tactics becoming increasingly outr

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