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Berlin Review: Pernilla August's 'A Serious Game,' Written By Lone Scherfig

A graceful but overcautious rendering of a well-known 1912 Swedish novel by author Hjalmar Söderberg, "A Serious Game," from actor-turned director Pernilla August, with a screenplay by "An Education" director Lone Scherfig, contains shades of Ibsen, and faint echoes of Ingmar Bergman's less experimental films, without ever achieving the piercing insights and intimate authenticity of those touchpoints. But the somewhat familiar tale of ruinous extramarital passion is elevated by the film's visual restraint — a cool Nordic palette of creams and pale grays framed in Academy ratio — and the solid performances from actors unafraid to commit to their frequently unlikeable characters. August's deliberate pacing and formal simplicity add thematic layers too: seldom has ungovernable passion seemed more premeditated, meaning that where often this sort of love story often has a kind of exculpatory tone (It was out of my hands! It was...

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