10 March 2010 | gut-6
Sub par for Anders Thomas Jensen
Anders Thomas Jensen is without doubt Denmark's most talented scriptwriter. Pretty much every film I've seen of his has been absolutely brilliant, even if he does tend to repeat certain themes and plot elements between his various films to a slightly excessive degree. But then again, every artist has his trademarks and his shtick. What I always loved about Jensen's films was the hysterically funny, outrageous black humour driven by a ferocious anti-sentimentality. This is the first film of his I've seen which fell short on that front.
It deals with a hard-working and successful real estate agent who accidentally kills someone. The guilt he feels drives him to counter-productive efforts to atone and make reparations for his offence, which in turn wreck his own life and those of the people he was trying to help. The theme of a well-meaning man causing a trail of destruction through his efforts to atone for past indiscretions is classic Jensen. However this time Jensen has not bothered to add any jokes or plot twists. It all plays out rather slowly and linearly as a character study rather than a plot-driven film. Perhaps it is because it is co-written. Either way, although the film works reasonably well as a serious drama, for someone of Jensen's high standards it is not worthy of the rest of his CV. It is also missing the usual handful of Danish film stars who appear in just about every other major Danish film, apart from the actor who plays the protagonist's brother.