Tyskungen (2013) Poster

(2013)

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7/10
"Modestly romantic, historic and riveting..."
Sindre Kaspersen12 July 2013
Swedish screenwriter and director Per Hanefjord's second feature film which was written by Swedish screenwriter Maria Karlsson, is an adaptation of a novel by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg called "The Hidden Child" from 2007. It premiered in Sweden, was shot on locations in Sweden and is a Swedish production which was produced by producers Helena Danielsson and Pontus Sjöman. It tells the story about an author named Erica Falck who after having moved in to her parents' home with her husband named Patrik who is a police officer and their newborn child is visited by a man named Göran who claims to be her brother. Erica doesn't quite know what to make out of the visit, but then she finds a diary and a Nazi medallion in her mother's room.

Finely and engagingly directed by Swedish filmmaker Per Hanefjord, this fast-paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints, draws a throughout involving portrayal of a Swedish woman who after learning that she might have a brother whom she has never known about begins to examine her mother's past. While notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, fine cinematography by cinematographer Marek Wieser and production design by Swedish production designer and costume designer Eva Norén, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about identity, war children and Norwegian and German war crimes depicts several interrelated studies of character and contains a timely score by Swedish composer Magnus Jarlbo.

This conversational, literary and atmospheric drama which is set in Sweden and Norway during the 20th and 21st century and where a newly mother's involvement in a murder investigation and search for her family origins leads her into a deeper knowledge of what happened at Grini concentration camp in Norway and Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany during the Second World War, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure, subtle character development, secretive characters, prominent flashback scenes and the fine acting performances by Swedish actress Claudia Galli Concha, Swedish actress Inga Landgré, Swedish actor Jan Malmsjö and Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro. A modestly romantic, historic and riveting thriller.
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5/10
Predictable crime thriller without character depth
estebangonzalez1013 December 2013
¨Some footprints can never be erased.¨

The Hidden Child is a Swedish film directed by Per Hanefjord based on Camilla Lackberg's 2007 best selling crime novel. It is actually Lackberg's fifth novel in the series based on Erika Falck and Patrik Hedstrom's crime investigations in their native Swedish town of Fjallbacka. I have personally never read any of these novels, but the tone and style of the film reminded me a lot of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy because they both try to uncover a crime that occurred several decades ago. The story and the mystery worked well, but the major problem I had with this film had to do with the characters that had no depth to them whatsoever. Every character was simply introduced to move the story forward and even the main character had no personal trait other than that of a detective. The story was gripping and engaging, but the characters I could care less for. The Hidden Child is a decent film, but one that I wouldn't recommend.

When Erika's (Claudia Galli Concha) parents pass away after a tragic car accident, a mysterious man shows up at their home claiming to be Erika's half-brother. Erika's mother never mentioned anything about having another son, so she doesn't believe him and asks him to leave. The next day the man is found dead in his hotel room and Erika decides to investigate more about her mother's past. She discovers her journal and finds some secrets about her past. Patrik (Richard Ulfsater), Erika's husband, is a police officer who confirms the DNA results that in fact this man was Erika's half-brother. Together they begin trying to find leads as to who might have murdered this man, and Erika begins by interviewing some of her mother's old friends that she mentioned in her journal. While the investigation continues several bodies begin to pile up as everything seems to be connected to her mother's past during the Second World War. Apparently someone is trying to keep the past hidden in the dark and doesn't want Erika to uncover the past.

Claudia Galli gives a strong lead performance despite not having much to work with. She simply does her detective work without any distinct personality and gets the story moving forward in a rather fast pace. The film is told in flashbacks through the memory of the characters she interviews. The rest of the characters are all pretty much flat as well and there is nothing memorable about them. The story is gripping and engaging, but the characters are far from it. Half way through the film it becomes rather predictable as to how the mystery is going to unfold so that was a bit of letdown. The scenery in this film was quite beautiful as it was filmed almost entirely on location. This could have been a better film if the characters were given some more depth and not just introduced to move along the story.
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