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Reviews & Ratings for
Submarino More at IMDbPro »

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47 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

The coming golden bear, possibly!

Author: kipale78 from Italy
14 February 2010

I just had the honour to watch this Danish film at the Berlin Film Festival, and I have the feeling that this could be the winner. I don't want to give anything away, so I will be very general.

What we witness is the compelling story of two brothers divided by life, united by the same tragic event. Both adrift in their sorrow, they run down their self-destructive paths, with little to fight for.

It is no big drama, though. The narration is gentle and respectful, and leaves the audience in the position of not being able to judge the characters for their almost invariably wrong choices, but with a strong feeling of compassion for all of them.

The performances of the whole cast are extremely convincing (including the little boy playing Martin)and Vinterberg's direction - unlike his previous Dogma movies - is at the service of the disturbing realism of the story, working at the same time with a beautiful composition of the scenes (the cinematography, from the very first scenes, helps going straight to the soul). Chapeau.

A special praise has to go to the two actors playing the grown-up brothers. Jakob Cedergren (Nick) in particular makes us see the fragility of his character through his eyes, despite his apparent and imposing physical strength. But the whole cast is really credible all along, both with their physical appearance and their realistic acting.

This movie, with its realistic description of the consequences and the dynamics of substance addiction, destroyed families (what a critic to the Scandinavian society, where alcoholism is a devastating plague) should be screened in every high school.

And, let's say the truth: if you don't find yourself silently weeping in the last prison and church scenes, you most likely have no heart at all. I am fighting with my tears right now, just playing the movie in my mind again.

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42 out of 48 people found the following review useful:


Author: TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews from Earth
2 April 2010

I have not read the novel, and barely knew that this was based upon one. This film is like a splinter in your heart, from the first frame to the last. It is pushed to the limit of what we can handle of authentic misery. The social realism, so unrelenting, such rich detail to it, and none of it strains credulity. I was interested in this from when I first heard of it, and when I found out it was by Thomas Vinterberg, the man behind Festen and Dear Wendy, I knew I would watch this. He does wonders with the editing and the cinematography, creating a bleak and mundane(not to be confused with ugly or boring) feel to the visuals, matching the lives of the people we are witnessing and their environment. The camera stays "in the background", letting what we see speak for itself. This has impeccable writing, the events, the dialog(and its delivery), the crowning little touches, it's all excellent. In the end, what truly makes this work beyond belief is the amazing acting from everyone(who are all perfectly cast, as well), and that definitely also goes for the children(who, might I add, are charming and sweet kids, too, including the baby; seriously, can't you count on one hand the infants in movies that are *genuinely* cute? This is one of the only ones, in over a century of the medium), who deliver some of the most astonishing performances seen from ones around that age. Honestly, there is perhaps one single(and entirely understandable) moment that isn't completely convincing, but everything that comes before or since is. In spite of all that we see them do, we sympathize with the credible and well-developed characters. There is a lot of disturbing content, a bit of violence, some sexuality and infrequent strong language in this. I recommend this to anyone mature enough for the subject matter, at least if you can handle it. 10/10

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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining but depressing stories with two brothers in problematic circumstances

Author: JvH48 from Amersfoort, The Netherlands
1 November 2010

We see two separate but continuously interleaving stories of two brothers, each trying to cope with their daily lives, overall providing for a pessimistic view on their lives, riddled with drugs, violence, alcohol, bad housing circumstances, but at the same time trying to deal with their responsibilities like caring for a kid. The title of the film says it all: it stands for a method of torture, where someone is kept under water until he nearly drowns.

Though knowing no people living in similar depressing circumstances, casting and acting looked very convincing to me. Apart from that, we saw a sequence of events that kept us wondering what would happen next. All this resulted in a "page turner" experience, fundamental to a good movie.

Alternating between the stories of the two brothers was an extra bonus that made this film entertaining throughout. They each live their own separate lives, under circumstances that are very different but equally troublesome. Their respective paths cross each other in less than a handful of situations. Once you get a fix who the main characters are, this way of structuring two story lines works perfectly.

The film opens with a prologue, wherein two young boys imitate the baptism of a newly born child "just like they do in church". After that, the real story takes off, but I could not connect the dots at the point where the prologue moves on to the actual two story lines. Maybe I was not paying attention enough. I had to wait until the final scene before I understood. Regardless, it did not hinder my appreciation of the film as a whole.

Given all things happening you cannot expect everyone to live happily ever after. Nevertheless, the finale of the movie shows a moving scene under impressive musical tones, where even the toughest role players seem to show some tears. It may be intended by the film makers to leave us with an optimistic feeling after all, with some silver lining around the clouds.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

"A grand scale study of character..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
12 January 2011

Danish screenwriter and director Thomas Vinterberg impressed me beyond words with his second feature film "The Celebration" (1998) which was made three years after he founded Dogma 95 with Lars Von Trier and strongly influenced by this concept. In his latest film it early on becomes evident that Thomas Vinterberg has distanced himself from the Dogma 95 period and created a far more individual style. The story is set in present day Copenhagen, Denmark and tells a tale of two brothers branded by a childhood incident which has estranged them. Nick battles his anger on a daily basis through beer-drinking and weightlifting and has a strange relationship to his single-parent neighbour named Sofie, and on the other side of town his younger brother named Martin tries to raise his six-year-old son while nursing his heroin addiction.

"Submarino" which was adapted from a novel written by Danish author Jonas T. Bengtsson in 2007, is reminiscent of Danish filmmaker Ole Christian Madsen's "Nordkraft" (2005) though it proceeds it by far. The bleak and unappealing milieu depictions are very authentic and the harshness of this unsentimental story about family ties are both intensified and contrasted by the deliberate use of strong light and vivid colors. Thomas Vinterberg and Danish co-writer and filmmaker Tobias Lindholm conveys this gritty and raw social-drama through a forceful linear narrative, tells several minor stories through a few supporting characters played convincingly by actress Patricia Schumann and Danish actor Morten Rose which builds up towards a grand scale study of character concerning a man's yearning for reconciliation and redemption, which is the core of this majestic piece of storytelling which i consider as one of the greatest achievements in recent years of Scandinavian cinema.

"Submarino", which premiered In competition at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival in 2010, is a small love-story, a story about a dysfunctional friendship and a multifaceted story about a deeply damaged relationship between two brothers who are gradually descending into unredeemable paths of self-destruction. Nordic filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg's brilliant filming and mixture of long and short takes increases the pace in a thematically challenging film which is seen from the main character's point of view as he often wanders through the streets of Denmark's capital looking for the courage to once and for all confront his past and seek out his brother. This complex character is embodied by Danish actor Jacob Cedergren whose towering acting performance earned him a Best Actor nomination at The 23rd European Film Awards in 2010.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A must see film

Author: Dgbibook from Australia
20 September 2014

I have just watched this film from SBS Australian network, I was glued to the screen and wanted to give my gratitude to the writer and producer, this to me was a film that is dateless as we see life that effects and infects from the time that we enter this world

It's a reflection of life itself as we start out so pure but within life somehow we are exposed to a potential stream of danger and propaganda

I grabbed my son and hugged him very tight as I will try to prevent him from such an experience

Well done Mr Thomas Vinterberg your film was incredible and powerful, yes it did leave me sad but sad in a good way

Very kind regards DGB

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing, engaging, emotional, thoughtful drama

Author: grantss from Sydney, Australia
20 September 2014

An incredibly intriguing, engaging, emotional and thoughtful drama from Denmark. Intriguing because there is a mystery about the sequence of events. You see the movie from one brother's perspective, initially, and there's a question mark over the whereabouts of the other brother. Then you see the other brothers story, starting a few weeks earlier, and everything starts to fall into place. A very clever plot device.

Engaging and emotional because you feel for the characters. They might not be the most angelic of people, but they are people worth caring about. You are drawn into their characters and relationships, and keep fearing for the worst.

Thoughtful because of how the movie depicts life at its rawest and people at their mot vulnerable, in a very sensitive and intelligent manner.

Not perfect though. The film is a bit rough around the edges. There are some minor character inconsistencies and some small sub- plots are inflated all out of proportion.

Solid performances all round, including one of the better performances you'll see from a child: Gustav Fischer Kjærulff as MArtin.

Great script and direction from Thomas Vinterberg, who I'm sure we'll hear a lot more of in the future. He has already directed one English-language/US-based movie, Dear Wendy, so will not be totally foreign to US audiences. His follow-up to Submarino, The Hunt, received a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination in 2014, and has pushed him further into the limelight. He is bound for great things.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Ultimately, you may just have to settle for a ray of hope.

Author: Robyn Nesbitt (nesfilmreviews) from United States
8 August 2013

There's a very fine line between probing into human failings and all-out misery. Director Thomas Vinterberg's latest balances itself precariously between the two throughout, wavering between plot elements that seem grounded in its characters' emotional realities and those that are unnecessarily grim. Ultimately however, the movie redeems itself thanks to fine ensemble work and its daring, assured direction.

"Submarino" is the unforgettable story of two brothers, long estranged and haunted by a dark secret buried in their past, who live separate lives in modern day Copenhagen. Nick (Jakob Cedergren), a violent ex-con, tries to help out an old friend, but falls quickly into old habits. Meanwhile, his brother (Peter Plaugborg), raises his son, but is unable to escape his own demons of addiction. Each is on a path to self-destruction, and they must find each other -- before it's too late.

The cast is uniformly strong -- both Cedegren and Plaugborg are solidly believable in their roles. Cedegren's acting, minimal and yet poignant, is especially remarkable. Vinterberg has a genuine respect for his characters and a desire to see them transcend their trappings, and his film, in turn, mostly succeeds where it could so easily have fallen short. When its numerous narrative threads finally converge, the resulting pathos feels genuinely earned and authentic.

Adapted from the novel by Jonas T. Bengtsson, "Submarino" was an official selection at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

It's all about Misery

Author: moi_kamiar from Iran
15 February 2010

Still involved in his preoccupations with collapse of family foundation and its bonds (as evident also in his fantastic Dogme 1, FESTEN), Vinterberg comes back to Berlin with a film which is not about love at all, but about misery in general. SUBMARINO is the story of lack of love, family and commitment which is reflected in addiction, despair and murder. Looking through a glass darkly at the depressed people in times of depression, it gains its strength from the constraint approach to the subject matter. In his usual personal visions (of course, without a trembling camera after his Dogme propaganda and anti-bourgeoisie pretense), Vinterberg finds his way through a way far from any sentimentality. Grey overtones in each shot marks the world he's going to portray – a world in which everyone has forgotten all about fear and trembling. However it seems too naturalistic, SUBMARINO is able to make a survey into the lives of miserable men of the third millennium, not as a tearjerker, but as a veritable mirror…

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

results of dysfunctional alcoholic parenting

Author: filmalamosa from United States
9 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Am not a big fan of depressing socially relevant dramas--however if you are you will love Submarino.

The film shows how destructive alcoholic parents can be. We follow two boys who are neglected by an alcoholic mother.

Most of the film is devoted to following these two boys now in their 30s for a short time. They have separately developed dysfunctional lives themselves.

The oldest boy can be violent and has served time for it. The younger brother is a heroin addict with a young son.

A side plot was lifted from Mice and Men by Steinbeck--a socially isolated inept man murders a girl. It is done quite convincingly. Watch it to see.

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