17 October 2003 | pbn
Excellent performances and solid treatment of time, place and topic
"Skyernes skygge rammer mig" is the somewhat heavy title of this well-made Danish timepic. What you don't necessarily realize from the official plot summaries of this film is that its subject is that of a dark and potentially dangerous homosexual attraction. Written by author Klaus Rifbjerg, who is not a stranger to writing about homosexual topics, the film lets the young law clerk Jens delve into a nightlife he never knew before, led by the older man Erhard who is his superior at the office. It becomes clear, at least to the viewer, that Erhard is interested in more than conversations and friendship, and despite his relationship to a pretty girl his own age Jens finds himself tempted, and reluctant to cause disappointment for the man who has taken such an interest in him.
The director and the artistic team do well to create an atmosphere of the 1950s time period at issue, including many delightful details. The direction is also flawed, however, for instance when it ties the story to pictures of an aged Jens which gives, in my evaluation, an overly-ambitious structure and design for a short film of less than three quarters of an hour. Meanwhile, the lead actors and the acting direction are truly remarkable. Ole Lemmeke is precise in his portrayal of a slick man with ulterior motives and, as is hinted, a hurtful past; Tomas Villum Jensen is arguably even better in a role of much nuance. Additional parts range from bright to miscast.
Halfway through the film it struck me that I would have had a difficult time figuring out a way to end a story which follows a path towards something which could, it seems, certainly never be a happy ending, at least not for everyone involved. Indeed, the actual ending is my biggest concern with the storyline as it can perhaps be criticized for escaping climax rather than delivering it. Nevertheless, this is a fine short film which shows ambition and experience combined in good form.