Things are not going well for Kater. His girlfriend Maria has left him. He can’t remember the last time he won at the local rat races, and he has sold nearly all of his internal organs to pay off his gambling debts. His only way out is to become a brain pusher, trafficking in artificial memories and amputated brains for the powerful and mysterious Doctor. But memory manipulation is a treacherous business, especially for Kater, who has nothing but memories left.
Austrian director Valentin Hitz’s beautifully bleak Rat Race, a grainy, black-and-white nightmare, is one of the most intriguing pieces of science-fiction noir to appear since Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville. Hitz explores the philosophic divide between body and mind while revelling in its more visceral aspects. Can a person without a heart still love ? Is a person without a brain necessarily without memories ? How much can you cut away from people before they stop being who they are ? These are difficult questions and, as Kater learns, you can’t find answers without getting a little blood on your hands.