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Paprika Steen has stated that one of the biggest challenges she put herself through during her directorial debut was asking fellow actor Michael Birkkjær to play the lead, since they had had huge professional problems working together in the past. See more »
Paprika Steen is at least as good in directing as in acting
I'm a fan of Paprika Steen since the very first time that I saw her play a role in a movie. Since then I've seen several others of 'her' movies and I must say that she's always unbelievably good. Her performances often mean the difference between a good movie and an excellent one and that is something that made me look forward to her debut as a director. I hoped that she would be at least as good as a director, that she would be able to do her magic trick once again, but this time from behind the camera...
In this movie we see how a couple is trying to deal with the loss of their teenage daughter who died in a tragic car accident. Their whole life seems to have stopped and everything they do or everything that is said to them reminds them of her, leading to an emotional outburst. And both parents have their own way of dealing with the pain. While the mother tries to pick up her old life again by returning to her job as a social worker who has to take care of abused children, her husband seems to lose all grip on reality. He's only focused on one thing and that is to find the person who killed his daughter. It doesn't matter to him that he loses his job as an architect or that his relationship with his wife deteriorates fast. All he wants is revenge...
As I already said earlier in this review, I was really looking forward to this movie and I sure had some very high expectations about it. And almost all have been fulfilled. Once again this is a very interesting Scandinavian drama and Steen proves that not every good movie that comes from the North needs to be a Dogme film. She has managed to make a good drama with apparently different, smaller story lines that all connect to each other in one way or another. If the director isn't careful, this means that the entire movie will feel quite messy, but Steen sure knows how to avoid that trap. This is a solid movie and by far one of the best debuts that I've ever seen from a director.
Once again the acting is very good. Not that I expected otherwise. I'm used to watch Scandinavian movies and I'm always a bit surprised to see how many good actors they actually have over there. Sofie Gråbøl I had seen before in "Mifune's Last Song" and Lena Endre I still remember from "Trolösa". The others were more or less a surprise, but I liked them just as much.
In the end I'm convinced that this is the type of movie that might appeal to a larger audience, but even those who are already quite familiar with the Scandinavian movies and more in particular the Dogme-films, may well enjoy it. I know I certainly did and that's why I give it a rating in between 7.5/10 and 8/10.
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