Thursday, May 31, 2007

After the Wedding (2006, Susanne Bier)

Kind of compromise/disappointment rating here. It's pretty potent stuff but at the same time suffers from an overly programmatic Anders Thomas Jensen screenplay (I'm beginning to think he doesn't write any other kind). Bier's handheld Dogme-esque direction clashes with the plot machinations in the script, which makes for fascinating viewing for a spell until it becomes clear that Jensen has cooked up a more contrivances than the story really needs. For example, what purpose did it serve for Anna's husband to cheat on her? After a while it undoes the narrative, turning the story into a kind of piling on. Which is too bad, because Bier is the real deal- a few too many closeups of mounted animal heads aside, she's got chops behind the camera. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with actors (her next movie stars Halle Berry, so she's got her work cut out for her). Big points for lead performers Mads Mikkelsen, who works small wonders with the best sad-bastard face in movies today, and especially Rolf Lassgård, who manages to juggle avuncular and manipulative with great aplomb. Also, nice to meet Stine Fischer Christensen, whose role is peppered with opportunities for histrionics- she plays a newlywed who is just now meeting her real dad, I mean duh- but never missteps, and has a presence that can best be described as "glowing." Rating: 6 out of 10.

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