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By Patrick Samuel • November 4th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Kinowelt Filmverleih

Original release: July 7th, 2005
Running Time: 127 minutes

Country of origin Germany
Original language: German

Writer and director: Christian Alvart

Cast: Wotan Wilke Möhring, André Hennicke


When I was little and still had to attend Sunday school I remember having to read the story of the Binding of Isaac. No matter how many times I read it I could still never understand why God would want to test Abraham this way. According to the story, found in the Book of Genesis, God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham complies and binds the poor boy to an altar on a mountain, ready to sacrifice him, but at the last minute an angel appears and stops him, saying “now I know you fear God”. Why would God put Abraham through such a test, why would he ask for such a sacrifice?

As the years passed I stopped having to read the Bible, both at school and at home, yet those stories – particularly this one – were hard to forget and as I watched Antikorper, it would enter my stream of consciousness again. Only this time in a much more frightening and unsettling way.

Set in Berlin, Antikörper opens with a tense sequence which shows us the capture of pederast serial killer Gabriel Engel (André Hennicke). In custody he admits to kidnapping, raping and killing 13 young boys and using their blood to create his paintings. At first he seems cooperative and willing to talk, but then the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl from the village Herzbach is also attributed to him and Polizist Michael Martens (Wotan Wilke Möhring) is tasked with carrying out Engel’s interrogation. Coming from Herzbach as well, Martens has his own reasons for wanting to find out if the man in front of him could’ve changed his modus operandi and committed this murder too.


So begins a taut game between the two as Engel reels him in, only offering him information if he’ll answer his questions. Engel wants to know personal things like what Michael Martens thinks about when he has sex with his wife, and after letting him know he has a young son, he taunts him with the idea that he’d get on well with the boy. These are not exactly the things the well brought up and deeply religious Martens wants to discuss with a pederast serial killer, especially as he’s having a hard time with his son at the moment.

Martens has been recognising strange behaviour in his son for some time now; from neglecting his studies to displaying a cruel streak toward animals and as he spends more time with Engel his concerns over the boy grow. As well as that, Engel Antikorper begins to lead him down a dangerous path, influencing him to stray not only from his wife but also from his religious beliefs, enforcing the idea that whatever his son is must’ve come from his father – the apple never falls far from the tree after all.

But what happens when Engel begins to imply that Martens’s son might’ve been involved in the young girl’s murder? Antikörper, though compared with serial killer thrillers such as Manhunter (1986) and The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) it couldn’t be further from them in style, tone and content, is one of the most tense, tautly written and superbly acted films I’ve seen in a long while. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart as we hear Engel describe in great detail what he did to the boys, but André Hennicke plays the role so well than long after watching the film I was still shuddering at the thought of him.

Is Engel toying with the young Polizist, manipulating him the way I always thought God manipulated Abraham, and if so, for what purpose? As the story takes a few twists and turns I was never sure what was going to happen next, but by its climax it delivered a piece of cinema that might be hard to swallow but remains etched in your mind as we see a man who’s well and truly being tested, maybe by God or the Devil.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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