Zaid is a successful heart surgeon with an expensive apartment and pregnant girlfriend. One night he gets a visit from his brother Yasin, who is desperate for money, but he refuses. Soon after, Yasin is found beaten to death and Zaid is overcome with guilt. As guilt gives way to anger, Zaid becomes a masked avenger and takes on Copenhagen's criminal underworld in his quest for justice.Written by
Dar Salim took kickboxing lessons in prep for the movie. He was trained by Lars Krusaa, the national coach of Denmark in Kickboxing. See more »
Some Good Ideas Spoiled by Poor Execution!
Fenar Ahmad, being a Dane of Iraqi heritage and co - writer/director of Darkland, you'd think might be more than capable of making a decent film about the Iraqi immigrants in Denmark. What we are delivered is a confused, unlikely, revenge/thriller, set almost entirely in the Danish Iraqi sub-culture, which skims over some potentially engaging story points, in an effort to achieve an almost routine generic conclusion.
In the tendered storyline, judged on this movie, it would seem that most Iraqi immigrants residing in Copenhagen/Denmark (The location is never stated, but Denmark is not a huge place, so likely the wholly urban setting is Copenhagen.) are criminally inclined, practise an almost reverse racism against the country that has given them safe harbour from their wasteland of a homeland and the males of the species are misogynistic to a man. Anyone, such as our protagonist, Zaid, who emerges as an extremely talented figurehead from this social cesspool, is looked on, as a traitor to the cause.
Dar Salim, also a Dane of Iraqi heritage and an experienced and very capable actor, I guess in some ways, may mirror the character he plays, cardiac surgeon and specialist Zaid. I just wonder how guys like Ahmad and Salim feel about making something like Darkland, which is neither complimentary in just about any way, to their own social set and their host country.
Zaid is the success story from his immigrant family, whereas his 20 year old younger brother, surely half his age, (Salim was 40 when he made the movie and his character looks all of that age) is a crim, who, not for the clearest of reasons (a failed bank robbery?), runs foul of his wider gang and is beaten to death. Zaid's lazy, slob of a father, unbelievably sees fit to blame Zaid (who we know has previously on more than one occasion helped out the loser). Ludicrously, it would seem that the older brother, who probably didn't even grow up with the younger brother, in the same house, "should have brought him up better", while Dad sits around and contemplates how good life was 30 years ago, back in Iraq.
Against both this unlikely background and the fact that the local constabulary are shown to be not having the slightest interest in investigating the murder (with suitably strong racial undertones evident), Zaid, after a period of reflection, transforms himself into a motor-bike-riding, dark knight of a vigilante, who between hospital rounds and taking his pregnant wife out to dinner, somehow finds the time to kick some scum butt, whilst also copping more than a few beatings himself.
It's all a bit ridiculous. Yes, cardiac surgeons are well off, but they frequently work extremely long hours and would hardly have the time to play Batman, in the manner we see Zaid do here. Not to mention the fact that surgeons need to look after their hands and don't usually make it a habit of going around looking for heads to punch. There's all sorts of weird little things going on, that get no exposition, such as Zaid, continually injecting himself with some drug ... may be steroids, who knows?
As the film progresses the ever present and unwelcome hand held camera work, lightening quick edits and dim lighting of the many nocturnal action scenes, become very evident and make for some frustrating viewing. On top of this, it's never quite clear if even Zaid knows what it is, precisely, that is driving him forward, relentlessly, on such a brutal, merciless, and selfish road.
Ultimately Darkland stands out as an uneasy blend of gritty street crime thriller and social criticism drama. It seems never likely to me that Denmark could seriously consider it, as a foreign language Oscar submission. If ever there was a dark horse in that category, it would have to be this.
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