TATTOO (2002) - German
In 2002, the movie world got a new tattoo thriller from Germany with TATTOO. Visually the movie has similarities to Fincher’s SEVEN DEADLY SINS, but it also honors the time-old Japanese tattoo mythologies with their complex themes of love and revenge. Fans of the tv show CSI will most likely find themselves able to tolerate the explicit medical scenes as they take place in the context of the police investigation.

New police rookie Marc Schrader is smart, but trying to go get through training doing the bare minimum, determined to firmly entrench himself in a nowhere cop position. Chief Inspector Minks knows attitude and brains when he sees it, possessing too much of both himself. He spots Schrader fleeing a rave and finds drugs in his jacket. He gives the rebellious recruit a choice: prison time or become his new partner.

Minks is the department outcast, a brilliant investigator whose methods push the limits of his authority and make his superiors nervous, even as he produces the results they want on the most horrific of cases. His new case with his new partner is the worst yet. A female pedestrian, killed when struck by a car, is discovered to have been partially skinned before her death, and there is an intact man’s finger in her stomach. The finger matches the prints of a known child molester.

Tracking the events and perpetrator in her death lead Minks and Schrader to a sinister underworld of collectors and sellers dealing in tattoos and human skin. Someone is collecting the rare twelve tattoos by the famed Japanese tattooist Hiromistu, and the two detectives must race to find all the tattoos before the collector can.

Schrader finds a secret thirteen Hiromistu tattoo, worn by the girlfriend of the skinned woman from the opening accident. Maya is an art dealer, and the ex-girlfriend of the tattooist as well. In a stunning scene, she reveals her body art to Schrader by standing in the rain, which slowly soaks her white dress, allowing the tattoo to show through the fabric. As the collector’s list shrinks, Schrader must struggle with his growing attraction to Maya and his need to protect her, while still working the case.

Along with their main case, Minks is trying to find the daughter who ran away from him years ago when his wife died. He asks Schrader to help look for her, asking him to use his connection with the underground club scene and his DJ girlfriend. This plot twist contains an unbelievable emotional sucker punch right to the gut that completely counters the predictable elements of the main plot.

The painted tattooing in this movie is superlative, both in design and in execution. The tattooed people depicted show a wide cross section of modern tattoo styles and imagery. Many good examples of traditional Japanese body tattooing are depicted, grisly as they are as displayed flayed skins.

Cast and Crew:
Director/Screenplay - Robert Schwentke, Special Effects - Colon FX (Supervisor - Wolf Schiebel), Makeup Effects - Magicmove GmBh, Tattoos - Gabriel Bur.
August Diehl (Marc Schrader), Christian Redl (Chief Inspector Minks), Nadeshda Brennicke (Maya Kroner), Ilknur Bahadir (Mettem), Johan Leysen (Frank Schoubya), Ingo Naujoks (Stefan Kreiner), Jasmin Schwiers (Marie Minks), Joe Bausch (Norbert Günzel)
Check out this body art!

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