Directed By: Susanne Bier
Written By: Anders Thomas Jensen
Cinematography By: Morten Soborg
Editor: Pernille Bech Christensen & Thomas Krag
Cast: Sonja Richter, Mads Mikkelsen, Nicholaj Lie Kaas, Paprika Steen
When you watch a Susanne Bier film you know you will be put on an emotional path that is in your face the whole time. the film and characters are raw which is emphasized by the grainy film she uses and the fact that most of the scenes are done in full close-up on the character’s faces. it helps that she tends to cast beautiful actors too.
I have seen her Films before this one BROTHERS was my first followed by her English language debut THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE. so I knew what to expect watching this film and i was still blown away. Now describing the plot of most of her films they sound like corny melodramas and the plots are, but they are also real. they are so full of emotion and address the things that are not seen in the film’s American counterparts.
The characters here feel full and real and are not afraid to show their unlikeable sides and decisions whereas other films would try to make every character lovable and likable. The thing that amazes me about her films is that on paper they are not the films I would normally watch or enjoy, but through her talented filmmaking and gut-punching scripts she makes them rewarding and essential viewing.
Sonja Richter is so beautiful a virtual screen goddess, Yet, she downplays her beauty for actually fully realizing an emotionally needy young woman. Who is engaged to be married when her boyfriend gets into an accident and ends up paralyzed in the hospital.
The female driver of the other car is so stunned she sends her husband. A doctor to talk to the young woman. Soon they become friends and he becomes her go-to friend especially when her boyfriend refuses to see her. Soon they are becoming more than friends and fall deep in love though they both feel guilty about the situation they go full speed ahead. It is here where the film becomes interesting as it explores all sides of this triangle. It even shows the effects it has on his children.
The film has no heroes, no villains just real people who make mistakes, change their minds, and don’t know what the right decisions are. The film is a multi-layered love story. that is sweet one minute and dark the next with little to no sentimentality. It’s such a gritty love story that scrapes the heart at times. It becomes hard to watch, but you must see ith through to see what happens. How will it end?
Mads Mikkelsen plays the husband he truly shows range as i have usually seen him only as a one-eyed Viking in and a villain in CASINO ROYALE. So him playing a compassionate family man who falls out of love with his wife for an unstable young woman and how it pains him to do it, is so moving.
The film is a DOGME 95 Film which is a decree that is summarized below. As with most DOGME films this one cheats on the rules a bit. but generally stays on with its doctrine. IT’s definitely worth watching and stay true to its artistic spirit.
The goal of the Dogme collective is to purify filmmaking by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications, and other technical gimmicks.
The filmmakers concentrate on the story and the actors’ performances. They believe this approach may better engage the audience, as they are not alienated or distracted by overproduction. To this end, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg produced ten rules to which any Dogme film must conform. These rules, referred to as the “Vow of Chastity,” are as follows:
1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. If a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found.
2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic.
3. The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.
4. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable (if there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6 .The film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is to say that the film takes place here and now).
8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
9. The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
10. The director must not be credited. (Thanks to Wikipedia) a definite addition to the Film Library