Just Another Love Story (18)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Jul 21 2009Obsession with death seems to be a central theme in the work of Danish writer-director Ole Bornedal, who is most famous for the middling, morgue-set Hollywood thriller ‘Nightwatch’, which was a remake of Bornedal’s Danish original. This new film plays like a film noir rethought for contemporary Denmark, albeit a little self-consciously. Anders W Berthelsen is good as Jonas, a 2.2 family man and a city crime-scene photographer who is whisked into a world of exchanged personalities, Triad diamond smuggling, suicide pacts and forbidden love following a car crash involving a millionaire’s daughter (Rebecka Hemse) with Patty Hearst syndrome.
Shot competently in widescreen, Bornedal’s bourgeois escapism drama is played out, in the main, in a realist register. It kicks off with a mysterious pair of shootings, one in Denmark, the other in a crummy Thai hotel, which the film then proceeds to explain in jigsaw fashion. ‘Beautiful women and mystery’ are a man’s incentive to escape the nine-to-five routine, kids and the Saturday shop, explains Jonas in voiceover. His is an unusually dramatic philosophy for an ordinary guy, one that threatens to disturb the film’s credibility. However, Berthelsen’s excellent low-key acting keeps disbelief suspended. Moreover, ambitious cross-cutting and occasional bursts of strident music hint at psychologically complex parallels and readings that the film fails to deliver. On the plus side, Bornedal shows ability in both the family scenes (nurturing a good performance from Charlotte Fich as Jonas’s wife) and the violent ones, which are sometimes surprisingly gruesome.
Author: Wally Hammond