R: Hit First, Hit Hardest

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Ten minutes into this dour Danish prison drama, Rune (Johan Asbaek) – all we know about him is that he’s been given two years for a stabbing – smashes the teeth of a ‘raghead’ on a step on orders from a heavy. It’s almost blandly presented, yet it’s offered as some kind of warning and challenge to us: expect the violence in this film to be unexpected and affectless, just like the experience of a low-pecking-order new inmate like Rune or, later on, Rashid (Dulfi Al-jabouri). ‘R’ rejects the heroic identification of the worst of prison dramas (and the redemptive qualities of the recent ‘A Prophet’), but it trades in an overfamiliar, in-your-face, semi-doc verismo. It’s professionally shot and competently acted by a mixed professional and non-professional cast, but it’s guided by an all-too-retiring moral intelligence.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday August 26 2011
Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tobias Lindholm, Michael Noer
Cast: Johan Philip Asbæk
Dulfi Al-Jabouri
Roland Mølle