When their son, Esben, moves out, Kjeld and Vibeke decide to relocate to a smaller home. They discover that the apartment they lived in back when they were students is up for sale and agree... See full summary »
Miri Ann Beuschel,
Emilia Imperatore Bjørnvad,
1970s, Sweden - Hard working farmer Agne (played by acclaimed actor Reine Brynolfsson) struggles with the harsh reality of his daily life, hoping his teenage son Klas will take over the ... See full summary »
The Northmen are a quiet and broody folk - but not devoid of a particular brand of occasional and subtle humor. This is especially true if they work in a desolate wintry wasteland, mining some sort of featureless chalky rock. It's hard being a weirdo here...and it's even harder if you're in love with what seems to be one and only available girl in your mining village. Amidst the frozen drudgery of mining routine, conflict and tragedy is liable to erupt any moment from such a setup.
Emil's the weird one - quirky and creative, but harboring an aggressive darkness that his more straight-laced brother acknowledges but is incapable of really understanding. The rest of the mining community will tolerate Emil's antics as long as he keeps bringing that homebrew he brews out of industrial solvents he steals from the mine with his brother's help...and as long as the swill doesn't land one of them in the hospital to slowly die.
It's hard to review such an inscrutable film. Though the two brothers give fine performances, the ambient landscape is the real star of the show here, given sonic depth by the equally austere soundtrack and sound design choices. For the rest of the cast - including the woman - we are left with only threadbare clues as to the nature of their characters. Though masculinity is on full frontal display (quite often in a very literal sense), I would argue that there is much more going on here than just the study of its destructive manifestations. Emil is more than just a beta male descending into a miserable spiral of jealousy and hatred. He is a dreamer and an outsider - don't give up on him, because there is some redemptive hope that the choices he makes will not lead to his ruin. Sure, the girl he loves may not be his "girlfriend" as he claims to the boss during a particularly harrowing "performance review" - but when he steals her panties through her window and runs away to the forest to sniff them with childlike glee, she mirthfully laughs instead of being horrified and angry. It may not be much to go on, but it does stand in stark contrast to the actual sex that she has later, when she relents and lets her actual lover have his way with her sleepy body after telling him no like five times. And even though the brotherly relationship is far from perfect, his brother does love him dearly.
So will Emil slip further and further into his dreams, only to unleash a final wave of fury against everyone who slighted him using a semi-automatic assault rifle he bargained from some hoarder in exchange for his toxic hooch? You'll just have to watch to find out!
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