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Sjätte dagen (1999)
One of the best mystery/horror series ever..
This TV-series is one of the best Swedish productions I have ever seen. Surprisingly enough it is in the mystery/horror genre, a genre that hasn't ever really established itself in Swedish film-making. The plot revolves around a family owning a mansion outside a fairly small village in Sweden. The son is the center of the story, a businessman who has inherited his fathers company in the medical industry. As a result of an accident, his father is bound to a wheelchair unable to speak. While everything about the family to an outside observer seems relatively normal, the story slowly unfolds one dark secret after another involving everything from malpractice to abuse and murder. The quality of the show becomes apparent already as the title theme starts to run; an eerie soundtrack accompanied by leaves dropping from a tree promises tragedy and despair. The performances of the actors are outstanding as well as the way in which the series is filmed; slow cameras, no visually disturbing effects that would give the viewer any reason whatsoever to suspect that what is going on is not real. A thing that I especially liked was the fact that everything in this series is doused in tragedy. Darkness is omnipresent, and the filmmakers never resort to hope as a method of balancing the series. This is about pure evil originating from human egoism and it seems utterly real. The characters are psychically disturbed in a manner that seems reasonable as opposed to the flesh-eating, skin-carving sociopaths featured in most horror flicks. I was genuinely scared by this show, more than I've ever been by graphic violence. I sincerely hope that this series ends up as a DVD-box, preferably with English subs for everyone to enjoy.
The King (2005)
I loved this film. It has an ingenious plot with several more or less unexpected twists. Religion and guilt are major themes in the film; themes that I felt were examined with a seldomly seen open mindedness. The acting is strong from all characters, and the portrait of the characters adds realism to the story as they are portrayed in a very down-to-earth, human way. I felt I could identify with all the characters (religious beliefs apart) in the film. I also think it succeeds in executing what I gather was one of its resolutions; telling the story of a terrible event without passing too much judgment.
The performance of Gael Garcia Bernal is solid and that of Pell James wonderful. In my opinion the two played really well together, as did William Hurt and Gael Garcia Bernal. I went ahead and watched this film without knowing anything in beforehand (I went to the cinema and chose a name from the list) which I think was appropriate for this type of film. Having known a lot in beforehand could perhaps have made it more predictable and less good. The film is interesting also in the fact that scenes depicting what in reality would be very morbid are made beautiful, a fact that pulls the viewer into the lovely high where beautiful film-making makes you want to be a writer yourself. This is not something you'll want to miss out on!