The gripping tale of a nursery teacher striving to convince the world around, and himself, about who he is.
(A spoiler-free review with spoilers of opinions)
The movie has a peculiar backdrop and a rather calculated approach towards portraying human emotions. The extent of manipulation, feigned over the innocent masquerade of the perpetrator, should help give an idea about this intricate and close-knit film.
Lucas, our protagonist takes things with a pinch of salt. Life has never been kind to him, but that doesn’t deter him. A series of break-ups, family issues and the routine onslaught of a midlife crisis, combine to only find themselves as by-standers to a problem that eventually makes him go berserk, and there’s a poisonous amalgamation forming between them. The story gets twisted when the perpetrator, the cause of this latest problem, is personally related to the protagonist.
The special ingredient here is the stuff of life, friendships. How does one weigh in the extent of the relationship and the verity of the same?
Crisis enables action and enhances sentiment, and the protagonist comes to terms with what really matters and who deserves concern and care. Verity transcends insanity when mass hysteria stems from an alleged accusation by a young girl on the protagonist of a hideous crime.
This should cover the story.
The intense nature of the film is enhanced by visual effects that highlight the state of the mind, be it the viewers’ or the actors’. It’s direct and hard-hitting, with a few nail-biting phases of tension and agony. The climax that usually wraps the bow merely cuts the taut string by which the film is bound by. There isn’t an introduction or a conclusion, merely the passage of time, with cycles of people encountering the situations that are terrifying.
A wave of emotions rides along, and the passage is seamless. The viewer gets jumped with the intensity of the emotion, rather than being confronted with a situation that tends to be disappointing. This is made possible by the flawless acting of Mads Mikkelsen, blending together with cinematography that works in tandem with him.
The protagonist seemingly becomes the antagonist while the antagonist doesn’t even seem to be one. The real antagonist glides along and makes impromptu appearances giving only a vague idea of who he/she really is. It then becomes hard to judge the people and actually determine what role do they reprise in each sequence. In the end, realization dawns. Never judge a person, a mental image works, a character mapping doesn’t. Drawing conclusions based on inclement elements can destroy anything or anyone, with or without intention.
Each performance deserves its own share of applause, such is the nature of the dedication to the film. Ultimately, it comes together to make one ask, “how far does one really know?”. Do we let our preconceptions dictate the predicament of anything unsettling?
In these times of brutal crimes against women, this Danish masterclass is a resounding attempt at an unlikely statement that is lurking in the shadows.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Depends on who decides who the good ones are.
That’s all there is.