Time Out saysChristoffer (Ulrich Thomsen of ‘Festen’) is a happy, relaxed restaurateur who enjoys a sensual union with his comely actress wife (Lisa Werlinder). But then his industrialist father commits suicide, and a conspiracy of guilt, money and smothering familial obligations coheres to bring this good man down. The second entry in a planned trilogy of films on the lower, middle, and upper classes of Denmark, Per Fly’s sombre character study shows its unlikely heir to the corporate throne meekly submitting to the demands of his overbearing, all-business mother (fantasy cat fight: Christoffer’s mum versus Eleanor Prentiss Shaw of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’); the soulless taskwork of reinvigorating a near-bankrupt corporation gradually hardens Christoffer and hollows him out, freezing the marital bed and waking his basest instincts. The fatal flaw of the movie’s schema lies in making its protagonist such a cipher: Christoffer’s maddening passivity never abates (except for an unlikely act of random violence), and the incremental loss of his principles and former personality – and much else besides – appears at once strangely self-willed and somewhat mystifying.
Fri Dec 31, 2004