After the Wedding
Time Out says
Long before any of After the Wedding’s major plot twists start veering viewers into the unexpected—and there are indeed a few WTF? doozies—you already get the feeling that something wicked this way comes. Maybe it’s the wary look that expat Jacob (Mikkelsen, again proving he’s a major talent), a Danish relief worker in Calcutta, gets when he’s told he must return to Copenhagen to secure funds for an orphanage. Or it might be the cryptic attitude of Jorgen (Lassgrd), the philanthropist behind the charitable offer; why, exactly, is he so keen for the out-of-towner to attend his daughter’s wedding? The answer lies in an innocuous toast that the new bride (Christensen) gives during the reception, and once that bombshell is dropped, you can see how former Dogme ’95 disciple Susanne Bier has been casually—but steadily—setting up a shock to the film’s system.
There’s no point in spoiling the surprise, but it bears mentioning that the revelation is meaty enough to keep Jacob, Jorgen and his wife (Knudsen) busy sifting through familial crises and emotional confusion for the movie’s duration. Which is why Bier’s insistence on adding even more melodramatics into the mix feels like a mistake; had she just left it at that initial turn, the filmmaker might have produced a nice, intimate character study like her last work, Brothers (2004). Instead, her cup increasingly runneth over into daytime TV territory—infidelity, illness and adoption, oh my!—and you’re left with a pop-psychology pileup, too many crying jags and diminishing returns. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.)—David Fear