Life in the suburbs as a father of two has worn down Jonas. When a victim of a car crash mistakes him for her boyfriend Sebastian, things take a very dramatic turn as the line between truth ... Read allLife in the suburbs as a father of two has worn down Jonas. When a victim of a car crash mistakes him for her boyfriend Sebastian, things take a very dramatic turn as the line between truth and deception is erased.Life in the suburbs as a father of two has worn down Jonas. When a victim of a car crash mistakes him for her boyfriend Sebastian, things take a very dramatic turn as the line between truth and deception is erased.
Jonah is no screen-writer though: he's a crime-scene cop, a photographer, a husband with a wife and two kids, and is already deep into his mid-life crisis. Like many angst-ridden men of his age, he wants more. Well, along comes distraught Julia (Rebecca Hemse) who inadvertently smashes her car into the rear of his, with wife and kids onboard (what a technical triumph that smash-up was!). Julia lands in hospital, almost blind, remains in a coma for a short while and, when she wakes, she has little or no memory. Jonah, while visiting her, is mistaken for Sebastian (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), Julia's fiancée from Hanoi. Quick as a flash, Jonah dives into the deception because now – stupid sap – he thinks he's in love...
If you can accept a venture of that magnitude by an otherwise intelligent cop and father of two cute kiddies, then accept what follows as a clever take, perhaps even inversion, on the traditional femme fatale scenario. Sure, you already know he's dying but – who fired the shots? The answer, as in all excellent film noir, comes only in the few seconds that precede that deliciously dark opener. Before you get there, though, the plot has enough false trails, macabre cop humor and misdirection for you, to keep you glued to your seat. Moreover, like all good narratives, nothing is ever as it seems. In that regard, I'm reminded of the murder of luckless Lester (Kevin Spacey) in American Beauty (1999), ironically gunned down in his house, blissfully unaware of who did it and why.
Technically, the structure of the story and photography is brilliant, with the first twenty minutes giving the viewer a series of scenes and dialog in a seemingly discordant sequence. As the plot continues, the editing of sound and picture then assumes an ironic register and tone, as the dialog from one scene might play over a scene that opposes or deconstructs the other. It's a narrative technique that's quite effective and, best of all, it's not overdone. You'll know it when you see it.
The acting and direction are superb, no question. The special effects during fight scenes grittily and graphically hit this viewer between the eyes. Moreover, I think the editing displayed true mastery of narrative flow and cohesion. And the music score fits like a glove. Overall, this is one of the most satisfying and entertaining efforts in this genre for many years. But, is it believable? Well, given the propensity for most of humanity to do stupid things for love, I'd say that's a no-brainer.
Recommendation – run to your video store and get it. Nine out of ten (nobody ever gets ten from me).
December 4, 2013
- Dec 6, 2013