Heavyweight sees a traffic warden deciding to overstep his bounds as he feels the weight of expectation of his young son, who sees him as some sort of fighter-of-crime and righter-of-wrongs, and not the administrator handing out small fines for parking in the wrong places or in the wrong way. As such it is a deceptively simple story and in some ways it is a little bit underwhelming that, although the man does try to be something that can justify how his son views him, it is hardly a massive lead toward vigilantism. Instead it is a very small thing that has an impact, albeit at a very individual level.
Being honest the very folded in approach of the film didn't hook me as it has with others; it wasn't that I was looking for fireworks per se, but it is such a inconsequential story in the bigger scheme of things that perhaps I may not even have noticed the film had it not been posted on a short film site I trust. I guess this is the point though, because Heavyweight is not flamboyant or about big gestures but rather about the simple relationship of a man and his son, and how both the son and the man perceive the man (with the former's view affecting that of the latter). As such the film plays out best when it is the man and his boy, in front of the television just talking about nothing. This shows in the choice of image for the main poster (it is them on the floor in front of the TV) and also the naming of the characters (they are simply Far and Søn – father & son). The image of the toy continues this sort of expectation even when the boy is not in the scene, it is a pretty good device in this way.
Köhnke does very good work as the father and is convincing in the things he feels and thinks, not just what the script gives him to say – it is a strong performance which does the job without being showy. The narrative plays to the low-keyness of it in a way that is responsible, but perhaps not as dramatic or telling as I would have liked, although at the same time I do acknowledge that it fits with the tone and aims of the short. The look of the film is also "small" in terms of how the world of the father feels – it is grey, it is concrete, it ultimately means nothing to anyone – and all of this comes across in the visual design and cinematography, which helps the film even if it does mean it looks a bit drab (albeit this is the point).
Ultimately it is a small and simple film, which is constructed to be this way as I see it and as such there is a bit of it being a victim of its own success since it doe also feel a bit drab and inconsequential at the same time. It is nicely balanced though, and there is an intimacy and poignancy that comes through well, and it is this that did the job for me, even if aspects of it maybe didn't work as well.
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