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A child's voice comment is quoting Thoureau many times and it's pretty
obvious what it is about: Civilization criticism with the villa area in
a Swedish small town as the target. But of course it's supposed to be
directed towards all the societies we've created, with their inhuman
And it's rather clever done. You meet the young man with the little son, who doesn't have his own key to his parents' house. You meet another young man, who under the surface seems to be terrorized by his father, to live up to the conditions in the surroundings. And you meet this little boy, who kindly refuses to be the way his mother wants.
They are surrounded by the freedom in the woods, but the conclusions we're supposed to make are a little too easy. But of course credit goes to the slow tempo, which is really daring.
I liked this movie. I do react to people who say its rubbish and so on,
thats quite narrow minded. but its fair to say its not for everybody.
Its not meant for everybody either though.
If you can't stand movies that are different, just stay away. But If you have the taste for movies that tries different things, explores a different kind of filmmaking and are a bit more open than the average movie you see, which I do, this is really a movie to check out.
The movies is centered around a neighborhood, and an 11 year old boy who is narrating whats going on to some degree. There's a handful of characters we follow, and what they have in common is that they seem to be outcasts in some kind of way. The neighborhood in their small mindedness judge them, even though they are not really that different.
The film seems documentary-ish in its filming, more observing situations than really trying to tell what is going on. All the characters seems to end up wandering through nature. To me it seemed like the nature is a symbol for what they were going through in life.. They getting stuck in the mud, the father and the baby going into "deep water", and so on.
Its really one of those movies you can end up discussing with a friend for ages, while trying to figure out what the movie really tries to say. That is a good thing, and should be acclaimed.
On the downside? Well, I don't know. Not all the scenes were just as engaging, although I guess the movie kind of tried to portray a pretty boring and judgmental neighborhood.
I give this thumbs up. If you sense this is the kind of movie you'd like, I'd see it. Definitely.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, this is another one of those movies that has become very popular
in Sweden the last couple of years: amateur actors, not much dialog,
angst, Swedish suburban and shaky hand-held camera. And yes, the
intellectual critics tend to love them - what can be more intellectual
than a little redheaded boy quoting Thoreau?
The little redheaded boy, an immigrant, a young father, a successful man that seem to have everything - all live in the same block. We follow them through their everyday life. Soon it's clear that the woman stand for the civilized way of living, trying to guide them in the right (civilized) direction. They are offered a normal life, and they are all rejecting it. The young fathers parents will let him stay with them - as I understood it - if he behaves. But he chooses not to. He beats up his neighbor, runs off in the woods. He carries his baby with him all the time, making it a part of him - he can't relate to anyone, except his child. The redheaded boy steals a gold watch from his mother. The mother knows this, and she kindly begs him to help her find it and explains how much the watch means to her. Despite this, the boy throws the watch into a well. The immigrant has a job at a factory since 30 years back, but we see him hunt fish with a spear in a stream nearby the neighborhood. He sleeps out in the woods, on the ground.
You can choose to interpret it as a movie about men seeking their origin. Questioning the way of life that they have been taught. There are hundreds of movies with this theme, and personally I don't think that we need another one. Out in the woods, the lonely hunter - it's not a fresh way of looking at genders. If there had been a few woman in the same position as the men, it would've been easier for me to like it. But what's good about this movie is that it forces the viewer to think. And in contrast to horrible Into the Wild, it doesn't romanticize. The characters are sad and no one is a obvious hero. And maybe that what it is trying to say. That no one is a hero: right and wrong is just empty words.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has locally been hailed by the critics as something really,
really good, but in fact it is devoid of dialog, action, and movement
forward. And there isn't an iota of humor, it is just dull, and boring.
The setting is a Swedish villa suburb, where a little kid called Sebastian, walks around and looking at people and watching their behavior (sometimes commenting who they are, and their relation to the others, in this little group of houses). Sebastian has a lot of antics of his own, some weird, some just queer, as queer as everyone else in this little society, including the one and only immigrant. That Sebastian's monologue, at times, is very literary, very non-child-like, I could buy for a while, but not for long. In a fairly complex set of scenes Sebastian's mother ask him if he has stolen her gold watch, which he denies, and then we see him fooling around with it, till he very deliberately drops it into the sewer, still no explanation.
So for a while, say ten minutes, into the movie I can buy it, but then it gets too much: there are explanations, like why one man drenches his grown up son with a hose, and then fights with him in the garden, it is just a lot of scenes, sometimes accompanied by choir music, or other high-strung music/singing.
Weird, very weird. Some people fight, some set fire to their furniture, and one man, who lives with his parents, but has no key to the house, walks around with his infant son on his arm, day after day, till he attacks a guy with a paddle, just because the poor victim had looked at him, and then the man walks into the wood, still with his infant on his arm, and then seems to try to drown himself and his son - still no explanation. Poor child actor!
Someone here commented that is a boring flick, and it sure is, and it you will be very hard pressed to find one with less story, or development. Recommend it to your enemies, not your friends! The rest is almost OK: Good acting (you're not really sure if they are acting, or not - maybe it's a mix?! OK, anyway), good sound, mostly good cutting, good cinematography (but far too much wobbly hand camera), but it doesn't help one bit.
The total lack of a story, or any kind of development, makes the film amazingly boring, and the end seems like they just ran out of film stock. The film starts with the kid's mother looking for him, and ends the same way.
There are a few cutting misses, where the time of day in one shot doesn't add up with the next, but I can live with those.
I think the reason why the Swedish movie critics gives it high points, is that movies they don't understand they give full points, as they don't want to appear thick, or, possibly, they are close friends with those involved. Or both!
This happens again, and again, and then after a year or two the same critics gives the same movies much lower points, especially if the movie in question has been a total disaster in the cinemas.
These famous critics maybe know these people, who they know try hard to make good films, and then, quite often, the end result still becomes a real disaster. Like this one.
I saw this today, at the Norwegian Film Festival here in Haugesund,
Norway. I don't mean to step on any toes, and I really do not mean to
disrespect any of the people involved in this movie, but it was total
The hour and sixteen minutes seemed like four long hours, and several people left during the screening. At one point I was convinced that the problem had to me - that I just didn't get it, or something - but my opinion was the consensus among all the people I spoke to directly after.
As the credits started to appear when it was over, someone on the row behind me said "thank god!" and I had to agree.
Even though I don't understand it, I accept that there might be a market for movies like this out there, and I suppose a film festival would be the place to find it, but that alone won't keep me from speaking my mind.
I was desperately waiting for this to turn into some kind of Scandinavian version of Falling Down (with Michael Douglas,) but it didn't. Instead it made you, the viewer, desperate for the thing to end - and had you just on the edge of seriously considering something bad to have it do so.
A more tedious flick is hard to find. In fact - I bet you can't.
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