Reviews written by registered user
|7 reviews in total|
A young man is persuaded by an extraordinary character to quit his boring life after discovering his girlfriend in the act with another man and after getting fired from his job. They both decide to quit for Spain and start a restaurant. What ensues is a quite enjoyable little Swedish/Danish road movie. The acting is quite convincing from the entire cast, especially Tuva Novotny (from the excellent Swedish movie Jalla! Jalla!) and the always superb Ghita Nørby. There is a sadness to the story that is quite interesting, but this does not carry all the way to the end. The plot is not very original, despite the title, and the developments in the movie are quite predictable. Well, there is a nice little twist to it that you may or may not pick up on. Not enough to give it higher than a six rating though.
A very unconvincing cast, including Douglas, delivers an extremely implausible story packed with clichés, with poor cinematography and old-fashioned music. I am usually OK with implausible stories and the original movie is probably good... but for heaven's sake, if you are going to do a remake, at least try to make it feel like the 21st century. The only thing the movie had going for it was a fairly good dialog (probably derived from the original manuscript to Fritz Langs original from 1956), but the lead actor and actress did a pretty poor job delivering them. I almost feel sorry for Douglas, remembering him in excellent movies like Fatal Attraction, Traffic and Falling Down, having to tarnish his good name with movies like this. I cannot for the life of me understand why he agreed to participate in such a B movie. Maybe he needed money (?) or maybe he cannot bear not being in the spotlight, but even so, he should try to make a reasonable effort. This was not up to his usual standards.
This movie is based on the Swedish children's book series called
"LasseMajas detective agency" by Martin Widmark. The book series, now
running well over ten books, is immensely popular in Sweden and is
about two friends, a boy (Lasse) and a girl (Maja), around ten-eleven
who are running a detective agency in a quaint make-believe Swedish
village called Valleby, where nothing every happens - at least nothing
violent. Thus, the friendly police officer in town is completely
untrained in his profession, why he often welcomes the assistance of
the young detective couple. I am not going to write too much about the
plot (why spoil it?), more then to say that someone is out to discredit
the police officer...
The manuscript, however, is not based on any of the books and is not written by Martin Widmark. But Sara Heldts original manuscript nicely follows the feeling of the original books. A special note about the cinematography, which nicely captures Helena Willis original illustrations in the book series. The photography is also an important part of why it becomes such a successful adaptation.
I went to see it with my wife and my two sons and we all enjoyed it to varying extent. Of course, my eldest son thought all the "love-stuff", especially the romantic awakening of Lasse, was awfully embarrassing and a waste of time (he is in that age). It is fun, exciting (but not too exciting), romantic (in a very silly way), scary (but not too scary) and simply adorable. My wife is too "grown-up" to admit she liked it, but me and my youngest son both loved it. The acting may not have been too convincing, but there is a surrealistic/fairy tale feeling to the whole movie that excuses a lot of weird behavior and lack of consistency that grown ups tend to get annoyed with.
To sum up, a seven, maybe much for a very predictable little story with implausible characters, but then I am childish and would not mind living in Valleby...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is really a quite nonsensical and completely implausible film and not to be recommended to anyone that seeks anything more substantial. The first ten-fifteen minutes are quite embarrassing for everyone involved. Then there is non-stop action. And here is where all the (six) stars come from, well executed action, no less. No need to write anything about the plot other than that the seventeen-year old daughter of a US-trained killing machine get kidnapped by the Albanian mob. He finds all the bad guys, kills everyone and rescues his daughter. Again, the ending was embarrassing. The emotions displayed by the young woman been through kidnapping, drug abuse, the death of her best friend and most probably rape (although never mentioned), was something that felt like the passing of an old aunt. So, what about the dark side. Well, nothing more than that you kind of enjoy the endless killing of all the worthless people involved in slavery and prostitution. Definitely a waste of time, but still very entertaining.
I thought I would give it ten minutes, no expectations whatsoever, but
I found myself completely captivated after five minutes and I had an
absolutely pure, simple movie experience, like movies are supposed to
be. Simple plot, excellent acting, interesting yet plausible
characters. Like a "Fargo" light.
I read in a chat room that Mena Suvari's character was not believable, but I strongly disagree. One of the strengths of the movie was, that despite the lead character's horrid actions, she felt very real; a young, unintelligent woman, who completely lacked any understanding of true values, but who still was convincingly portrayed as a person with a warm heart and an appreciated colleague. I do not know how she pulls it off... just brilliant. Also Stephen Rea was great in every scene, but did not have a very challenging part to play. Not a single scene was too long or too short or unnecessary. Just an exquisite little piece! Truly enjoyable and disturbing!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Admittedly I have never been to school in the US, but at least in
Sweden, peer pressure can be an issue in junior high, maybe during high
school, but then one slowly turns into an individual with a
personality. I would expect, and hope (especially for those how
consider a medical profession), that children in the US go through a
similar process. However, a personality is something none of the actors
in this movie need bother about portraying. I do not think the
directors were that interested in people or in personalities, or in
making a credible movie. My guess is they wanted to give you a fright.
Unfortunately, when no one in the movie resembles a human being, it is
hard to become sufficiently emotionally involved to become frightened.
In this movie, the directors want you to believe that a perfectly successful pathology resident can be turned in to a complete perverted homicidal maniac. Why? Oh, just so he can play with the cool crowd and have sex with a slutty redhead (your typical pathology resident). After that, everything becomes extremely predictable and stupid. I am not going to bother anymore with the plot.
The minds of the people who wrote this movie must have stopped developing at the age 12-13 (a 12-year old with a thesaurus, who want to impress you with their big vocabulary - another pathetic aspect in the movie) and from that they indulged in whatever mind crippling drugs that they could get their hands on.... and then somebody told them that they could make a movie. A strange idea.. and as it turned out, a very bad one. A definite 1, if it wasn't for the gory scenes that felt... well, gory.
I had not heard of this movie when I went to see it and did not know
what it was about, but I found myself drawn into the story immediately.
Despite that there is nothing extraordinary in the actual story, I was
constantly curious how the story would unfold. No scene felt
unnecessary, too long or too short.
The story centers around Leonard Schiller (beautifully played by Frank Langella), an aged novelist past his prime, and his daughter Ariel (Lili Taylor), who has repeated the mistakes of her own mother, living in the shadows of another persons ambition. Enter Heather, an ambitious (and rather improbable) Brown graduate student that is writing her thesis on Leonard Schiller, and the drama starts.
Clearly not for everyone, no action, no sex (although I was worried for a while), no fun, but a very interesting movie about life with absolutely excellent acting.