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Atomised [DVD] [2006]


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Product details

  • Actors: Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Ulmen, Franka Potente, Martina Gedeck, Nina Hoss
  • Directors: Oskar Roehler
  • Writers: Oskar Roehler, Michel Houellebecq
  • Producers: Bernd Eichinger, Bernhard Thür, David Groenewold, Oliver Berben
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Oct 2006
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GRUS9K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,108 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Adaptation of controversial French author Michel Houellebecq's novel. Bruno (Moritz Bleibtreu) and Michael (Christian Ulmen) are two very different brothers whose unconventional upbringing has led them to develop complex and unsatisfactory sex lives. While Bruno can only find satisfaction in meaningless sex with prostitutes, Michael seems to reject sex altogether, focusing his attention instead on his work in genetics. When Michael meets Annabelle (Franka Potente), a woman who turns into the love of his life, he seems to have the chance at a normal relationship, but one that might threaten the world-changing impact of his scientific studies.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By View from nowhere on 8 Mar 2008
Format: DVD
A good attempt to bring a difficult book onto the screen. It doesn't give rise to comfortable viewing, although I expect most people will have read `atomised' before coming to the film and therefore will know what to expect. Houellebecq excellence is in showing us how we really are, rather than glossing over the ugliness. He has given us a mirror to look at ourselves.

Modern society, with all its material progress has failed to provide stable relationships that most long for and the hope of 60's utopian ideals, have fallen by the wayside. The film doesn't have the scope or time to move beyond the central message of `atomised' and isn't as effective a medium at presenting the characters inner complexities. However there is still enough, to make it thoughtful and provocative.

It probably does too good a job, in representing the book. Where the book lacked tight structure and lyrical style, similarly the film lacks the images that would make it great. And like the novel it sometime falls into adolescent pretentiousness. Ultimately it overcomes these flaws as a film of ideas and a rare examination of a modern society which most people will sadly ignore in favour of escapism and entertainment.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Jan 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but I doubted that there would be much happiness from uncomplicated love. OK, I like a good, realistic drama that is full of anguish, dashed hopes, and disillusionment, but there also has to be some growth, some meaning behind the tragedy - fortunately, that is at the center of this pessimistic, brutally cynical film.

The story is about 2 brothers and their separate lives. One of them (Bruno) appears normal, married with a child and working as a teacher while pursuing his writing. The other (Michael) appears the oddball, an intellectual who is haunted by memories and lives more or less like a monk in the temple of science. However, appearances deceive: the normal one is boiling with rage, lust, and a terrible isolation to the point that he screams at his mother on the death bed. The scientist has rich memories of an apparently unrequited childhood love, which he remembers with a nostalgia that yearns for a deeper commitment. In fact, both of them are profoundly alienated, so far unable to form healthy relationships and move on.

Their common issue is a narcissistic hippy mother, who gave them over to their respective grandmothers and didn't even tell one about the other until they were adolescents. As a boy, Bruno was taken to her commune, where she lived like a libertine with indiscriminate lovers and neglecting her duties as a mother. When Bruno meets Michael, it is extremely awkward, but they somehow form a bond that will be important for both of them. The mother then goes off with her latest lover, leaving them forever.

As adults, Michael is pursuing a vision that would revolutionize genetics, oddly to make sexless reproduction possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 April 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The movie opens with a quote from Einstein: "One does not have to understand the world; one only has to find one's way in it." And in the film's first five minutes, we see the confluence of champagne and dead rats, followed not long after by sight of the death of a pet budgerigar and the sight of the grave of a dead grandmother. This film is replete with commentaries on modern values and every sentence spoken seems pregnant with debatable meanings. The plot is extremely contrived - sometimes laughably so - and yet it never loses its roots in a reality.

Michael and Bruno are half-brothers, but are the fraternal versions of chalk and cheese. Both are intelligent and both are somehow detached from the society in which they live. Michael accepts this and is happy to be the observer, to be quiet, chaste, and fearful of his own courage, but Bruno cannot cope with detachment and seeks to immerse himself in what life has to offer. However, he lacks - or thinks he lacks - the factors that would make him successful. The brothers are extremely well-acted by two of Germany's top actors, Moritz Bleibtreu (Bruno) and Christian Ulmen (Michael).

I have not read Houellebecq's novel, so I cannot comment on the film's loyalty (or lack of) to it. But Houellebecq comes with a reputation, more well-known on the continent than in the English-speaking world. From this angle, to me the film's plot appears constructed to express Houellebecq's manifest radical reactionism to modern-day values, the cheap lives that we live. Huxley's `Brave New World' receives a name-check. And yet romance, of a sort, wins out in the end, each brother having had enough of being unhappy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Justice Peace on 8 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Moritz is always great! in Atomised and Run Lola Run (another great movie). German and French flicks are also fantastic, no car chases or shoot-outs, just great dialog, strong characters and intelligence.
If I was being critical I'd say that the 'mathematical genius' brother's superior/professor/chief is as ligneous as the contents of the libidinous brother's trousers and seems to be reading his lines off an autocue so as to make the point very clear to the intellectually challenged viewer, but any movie that has T-REX as the opening music has got to have a lot going for it.
I love the way MH tears into the accepted popular opinion that black/hip-hop and Brazilian culture is cool: 'Football, Samba and FI obsessed maniacs, child killers, slums and teenage prostitutes dying of AIDS,' is how MH sums up Brazil. I've some great Brazilian friends but they're the first to admit Brazil has big problems.
It's not a perfect thesis however, the idea that we'd want to extend Krause's corpuscles all over our bodies is daft - would you really want your fingers or your face to be as sensitive as a clitorus? How would you wash the dishes or lift weights? MH was clearly getting carried away, and thank God the 'snuff movie' book chapter was reduced to just one line in the movie.
Before you get bored reading this I'll sum up: Atomised is a tragedy interspersed with black humour, sensitivity and a nihilistic philosophy; it's a comparison of the cerebral with the visceral, denial versus satiation, fast v glut! It's a good movie - watch it! JP.
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