|Index||5 reviews in total|
This film is truly a piece of art. The acting is superb. Especially I want
to mention the young actors Emil Odepark (Leo, the outsider teenager) and
Martin Wallström (Danne, the school bully). They both provide a lot to the
heart and soul of the story. The message of the movie deals with choices
are forced to make in life, especially when all alternatives we have are
bad, and the consequences we have to live with after the choices are made.
This sounds very "deep", and indeed the storyline has several bottoms.
questions are asked, and very few are answered. This movie makes you
In spite of the heavy subjects and the intellectual challenges, this film is never boring. In fact, I found it exciting from the first frame to the last. I can recommend this one to anyone who wants to see an exciting, well played, and well directed thriller that features more than good versus evil, hero versus villain. There are no heroes, and no villains, in this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***spoilers***spoilers***Some movies can make you cry while you're
them, but few of them can even make you cry every time you think of them.
For me, 'Before the Storm' belongs to the latter category. Yet, this
heartbreakingly sad movie has one scene that is much more thrilling than
most thrillers, and the joke about 'Kurosawa' is one of the most memorable
lines in my memory.
'Before the Storm' poses very interesting questions about violence and moral dilemmas. Many characters in this film seem to do something wrong, but apart from Danne, can we actually call what Ali, Leo, the Courier, and Johan Sander do as totally wrong? They might do wrong things, but they have their own reasons. This movie seems to ask the viewers that if were put into these four characters' shoes, what would we decide to do? Would we decide to act differently if we were in the same dire situations as them? Ali and Leo face one of the most difficult choices in the world. If a young boy as Leo hadn't done what he did in this movie, the other choice he might have resorted to is committing suicide. It's up to each audience to decide for themselves if what Ali does is wrong or right. What this movie perfectly achieves is to make us understand very well why these characters do such a thing.
Not only the 'decision-making' of the characters that is worth pondering, some scenes also leave interesting questions in our mind. For example, the scene when the father and mother of Leo teach Leo about violence. Yet, Leo's father works in the truck plant. Does he know that he might be responsible for mass violence? From the conversation between the Courier and Ali, we can assume that her organization used to distribute leaflets about the military use of the trucks to the public, but that method couldn't stop Sander. That leads to another interesting question in the movie: if the converting of the trucks is no secret, why are the public only concerned about the loss of their jobs? Why are they not concerned about the loss of people's lives in other countries? Are we too interested in earning money for our families that we try to forget or ignore the fact about our 'indirect' roles in this kind of cruelty?
Another great thing about 'Before the Storm' is that it shows us the consequences of characters' actions. And consequences often come as a surprise to the characters. After Leo forced Danne to say an obscene word, Sara uses that exact word to call Leo. After Ali told Leo some sentences that influence Leo's decision, Leo repeats those sentences to Ali at the exact moment that would affect Ali's decision. Ali makes an arguably noble decision in the hospital, but considering the consequences, is his noble decision the right decision? 'Before the Storm' reflects the real world where the most villainous characters (Danne and Sander) are the survivors, and the most innocent characters (Ali's ex-wife and son) suffer the most.
In my opinion, the hospital scene and the ending scene are truly classic. During the thrilling hospital scene, I forget breathing and my heart pounds heavily. The thrill comes partly because of the music, and because we somehow identify ourselves with Ali in this extremely dangerous situation. We can't help imagining we were Ali, and asking ourselves what exactly we should do to Sander, to the bodyguard, to the Courier, to her grandchild, and most importantly, to Sander's father?
Because we feel so much involved in Ali's decision-making, the thrill comes not only because we fear that Ali might be in danger, but also because we fear that Ali might decide to bring danger to other characters. Thrilling scenes are effective if they can make the viewers feel as if they are not only the 'observers' of the scene, but also the 'participants' in the scene. Most thriller movies are not as thrilling as this scene in 'Before the Storm', because in most thrillers' climax scenes, we know exactly who is the villain and who is the innocent, who should be punished and who should be rewarded. The villains in other movies are so bad that the hero (and the viewers) never has any doubt in his (or our) mind(s) whether the hero should do the killing or not.(It is worth noting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is mentioned in 'Before the Storm'.) In those movies, the viewers can be sure that the hero will do only good things and we can decide very easily that the villains should be killed. Thus, the thrill in other movies relies on what the hero will do to get rid of the villains, whereas the thrill in 'Before the Storm' relies on whether the hero will kill or help the so-called villains, which villain he should help, and whether the hero is as evil as the villains and the villains are as innocent and pitiable as the hero. These questions apply to the conflict between Danne and Leo, too. This movie might be one of the most difficult movies for the viewers to decide whether the child protagonist (Leo) should be punished or rewarded. It's not the physical action, but it's the moral ambiguity behind the physical action that makes the hospital scene in 'Before the Storm' the most thrilling scene in my memory. Moreover, this scene might be the only thrilling scene that can make me cry at the same time. And I cry because of that face--the face of Sander's father lying on the floor, begging for his son's life. I even cry as I'm writing this down. This face will keep on haunting me for a long time.
The ending scene confirms this film as one of my most favorite films of all time. The strength of the ending scene relies on its marvelous editing, and I'm not even sure that what I saw in the ending scene is what really happens in the story or a part of it is a dream. In the ending scene, the narrative style differs a lot from the preceding scenes. There is no continuity of time and place. Fragments of various characters' lives are mixed and edited in such a way that has a tremendous impact on my emotion. Moreover, this ending scene can manage to tell the conclusion of so many characters' lives in very few minutes, and a lot of twists are in this scene. I cry a lot when the camera focuses on the hand of Ali's wife and hands of other characters, when I see Danne is alive, when Leo departs from his family, and particularly, when the bodyguard discovers that the Courier's grandchild is alive. How can Reza Parsa come up with a scene so emotionally powerful like this? I have never seen a scene like this in other movies before. This is a perfect ending, narratively and emotionally.
Minor characters also lend great charm to the movie, including Sara and Leo's mother, and particularly the Courier and the anti-Kurosawa little girl. Tintin Anderzon is perfect as Leo's mother. Sasha Becker can show how much Sara likes Danne by just using a glimpse from her meaningful eyes. The Courier surprises me with her talent as a spy. She can appear any minute, without warning, in any place or any situation. This character wouldn't look out of place at all if she appears in superb spy action/drama films such as 'La Femme Nikita'. My only disappointment is that she is defeated too easily, considering her great spying talent. One thing worth noting is that one fast-food chain plays an indirect part in her demise. Is the director trying to say that the Courier's mistake is letting her grandchild too immersed in consumerism? The little girl is an unforgettable character even though she might be on screen less than 5 minutes. She is not involved in the main plot, but in an interesting subplot concerning chains of unrequited love. Her role might be small, but poignant. Her happiness when she is together with Leo lasts very briefly. Something she says indicates that she hopes to be with Leo again, but she might have to wait forever, as the ending song suggests.
It's hard to find other movies to compare with such a superior film as 'Before the Storm'. The only one I can think about is Antonia Bird's 'Priest'. While these two movies are totally different in many ways, they are as moving and bring as many tears to my eyes. More importantly, the understanding and sympathy between Ali and the harassed boy in the bus scene reminds me of the understanding and sympathy between Father Greg and the harassed girl in 'Priest'.
Leo, a guy in the seventh grade gets harassed by a two years older boy in
school and seeks revenge. At the same time, Ali, the father of a girl in
Leo's class (who Leo has a crush on) is contacted by a opposition group from
his home country that wants Ali to assassinate an important man for them.
Otherwise, they'll kill the family that Ali left when moving to Sweden.
These two stories about morale are connected to each other in Reza Parsa's remarkable debut. The direction is good, the acting is excellent (especially young Emil Odepark in the difficult role as Leo) and the photography is way better than it usually is in the Swedish movie industry.
Lukas Moodysson started a boom of making good films in Sweden with "Fucking Åmål" ("Show Me Love" in the U.S.) and I hope that'll continue with future movies from Parsa and Moodysson, who prove themselves to be the most talented Swedish directors since Bo Wideberg. The best drama-thriller in a while. 7/10
I love these films of total darkness with no hope in sight
Per Graffman makes a magnificent portrait of a father torn between old
and parenthood. Also "Leo" is fantastically portrayed by the young Emil
Odepark, the bullied teenager who's had enough. Both of these destinies
woven together exellently by script writers Mikael Bengtsson and Reza
Also dazzling music score by Peter Lundback in the pivotal, climatic
One of the best films I've seen from my Country Sweden in the last years!
Outstandingly directed by Reza Parsa, not only the actors mentioned but
Looking forward to new releases from Parsa.
In spite of a strange beginning with some hints and clues to what
you're about to see, Före Stormen goes way beyond what you may even
dare to think. This film is one of those gems from Sweden and Norway: A
co- production that merges the views from a Danish-made Iranian
filmmaker, and a very accomplished Swedish writer.
If you read the plot of this film, you will be very disappointed if you have the opportunity to actually watch it. It is, in my opinion, one of those scripts that could be a legend. Even when the subject matter of the film seems to be one we've seen many times, the pacing and the adding of extremely crafty and creative elements, make it a piece on its own, weaving a brilliant tragedy that could easily belong to any theatre in the world.
Visually, it's very straight-forward: No magic, no effects, no special polishing on anything. Perhaps it is this rawness and frankness of its photography and direction what makes Före Stormen even more appealing.
Be warned: it breaks many molds and goes to some of the darkest pits human hearts sometimes reach. Most disturbing is that this darkness resides in very young hearts.
Someone pointed out before me that this is a film that will make you cry even when you think about it... and that's true.
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|