As children, Nick and his little brother take care of their baby brother while their mother drinks herself senseless. But the baby dies, and both brothers blame themselves. Many years later, Nick is out of prison after serving time for an assault. He drinks, lives in a shelter and tries to help an old friend. When their mother dies, Nick meets his brother at the funeral. The brother, who remains nameless, is a single father to a young boy, but also supports a drug habit that is spiraling out of control. When an opportunity presents itself, he becomes a drug dealer to secure his son's future. Eventually, the two brothers meet again.Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
The film was made without support from the Danish Film Institute. Instead it received public funding through the broadcaster TV 2, whose condition for providing the money was that half of the cast and production crew would be first-timers. Vinterberg thought the condition helped the film's authenticity and likened the experience to his very earliest works. See more »
Ultimately, you may just have to settle for a ray of hope.
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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