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  • The films most compelling component is the main character Janne, really well performed by Johannes Brost, who's haggard face carries the plot in a manner, sending just the right signals of remorse and self destruction. The Director, Axel Petersén, must be the most promising of the Swedish new talents. This movie is not for the Batman fans, who have gone to American films schools. They will miss all the nuances when they are looking for the turning points, according to Laurie Hutzler or John Truby. The filmmaker knows it all but decides to, brave as he is, let open threads remain open, giving the viewer a chance to form his or hers own fantasy outcome and interpretations. The feeling you are left with is a genuine despair and the main characters sincere sadness over the deeds he has been a part of. This is a movie for profound existential contemplation of the lack of empathy that follows a shallow and superficial society. Well done!
  • Magenta_Bob23 August 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    With Avalon, Axel Petersén joins filmmakers like Jesper Ganslandt and Ruben Östlund in what I think is sort of a Swedish new wave of cinema, set out to depict the beaten, broken and the damned. Petersén brings to the table an impeccable mix of the naturalistic and surreal, the sparse and the extravagant; the camera work is uneasy and restless, not too concerned about keeping the characters or events within the frame, which fits well into the theme of people in the (moral) outskirts of society, not fitting within the norm. When needed, the film is completely silent, and you can hear every breath; at other times, there's an ambient, dreamlike quality to the score and the visuals, sort of like a Swedish Malick. And when the time is right, Petersén just throws in a long scene where Johannes Brost sways to Roxy Music's titular track on a neon lit dance floor.

    Nearly everything I have read about this talks about how it is an attack on a generation of Swedes, those 60-somethings that act like half their age without realizing the patheticism of it. Petersén has spoken about it in interviews, most characters are in their sixties and they are invariably pathetic so that's a part of it, sure, but to me it is more about the moral decay of Swedish society. Sort of like Östlund juxtaposed degenerate acts with some of our national treasures in The Guitar Freak, classic Swedish rock bands and radio shows can be heard during some of Avalon's most morally reprehensible moments, before the final, ironic blow is dealt with the national anthem during the last scene.

    All the characters, and protagonist Janne in particular, act first and foremost in their own self-interest, but they are not completely without a moral compass, it's just terribly miscalibrated. The prime example is when Janne offers to carry the bag of the woman whose boyfriend he accidentally killed in a futile attempt at redemption. The genuinely moral acts are repelled, like in the symbolical scene where Janne tries to help a drunk boy in the street.

    To the extent that morality is missing, money takes its place. It's no coincidence that the film takes place in Båstad, the morally corrupt town to which rich people from the capital (mostly) come to waste money and live like kings. As a drunk night club guest proclaims, Båstad is the new Almedalen (the area where politicians go annually to hold speeches, i.e. the place of power and influence), and "business is pleasure". Also, ironically, the repercussions for the aforementioned killing do not come in the form or the police, but the people who are paid to dispose of the body demanding their money.

    There's a certain bounded rationality to the way everyone acts in this movie. The second time, I watched it with my parents, and nearly all their guesses of where the plot was going were wrong, not because they were bad guesses, but because people behave erratically, in a way that is unpredictable ex ante but logical ex post.

    Out of the works of the directors mentioned in the beginning, this reminds me the most of Ganslandt's The Ape in its iceberg approach and in having former soap opera star Johannes Brost played wonderfully against type (like sitcom star Olle Sarri was). Many plot points are left unresolved, and character traits are only hinted at. For instance, we don't get to know what offense Janne committed in the past, which makes perfect sense in a movie where people place such a low value on morality.
  • stensson26 February 2012
    According to reports, the behavior of Swedish nouveau riches in Båstad is out of this world and makes their American and even Russian counterparts seem cultivated. In this environment 60+ Janne starts a nightclub.

    He's used to his emptiness and doesn't think much about it. This is what life is to him and it always has. Until something happens which forces him to think and feel. And the world is sinking for both Janne and his co-workers. Life is not a draw at all; it is a terrible loss and it obviously has always been.

    This is a shaking story and Johannes Brost and Peter Carlberg are great, but tremendous is Léonore Ekstrand. This is a script with no hope, but a film by Axel Petersén, which is part of a higher quality for Swedish movies during this last year.
  • As a big fan of Nordic cinema I'm always interested in new names and faces. Well... Axel Petersén is a new name to me and he certainly seems to have at least a few good ideas, but all in all I hope he will choose better friends for his next movie. This one was just boring and pretentious.

    The protagonists (all of them) lack any credibility, they're only skin deep, and they run around, act and react like headless chickens. There's no way you can relate to anyone of them. Nothing wrong with an experimental approach but the experiment in this movie (for instance the ridiculous 'Avalon' discotheque sequence) is a kind of 'worst of the sixties'. Apart from that the camera-work was the most annoying since the invention of dogma 95.

    Although some of Pederséns friends seem beyond suspicion... I was surprised to see the name of Hoyte van Hoytema passing by in the 'thanks' region... please listen better to his advice next time. And how in Privatdetektiven Kant's name did Carl Johan De Geer get involved with this? What a waste of real (experimental) talent.

    About halfway through it suddenly struck me that this was like watching a Dutch movie... now you know where the title of this review comes from.

    And by the way, the subject 'man goes berserk when confronted with unexpected horror' was handled a lot more plausible and creepy in the 2007 Danish movie 'Hvid Nat'.
  • johan-36411 April 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    This film is exactly what Swedish indie movement needs: an experimental, personal, thought provoking, artsy, pretentious, depressing debut. Kudos.

    Made for close to no funding, the film is well directed in all categories. The director proves that he has a good idea of what he envisioned.

    That doesn't make it any less depressing or melancholic.

    Overall the film is a bleak "much ado about nothing" storyline that could have easily been told in a shorter format.

    David Mamet once said that the worst invention to filmmaking was the steadicam. I think he would include the hand-held camera to that - There were moments when I wanted to slap the focus puller (or director - or both) for not getting the vital parts of the screen sharp.

    And please stop JUST following the backs of people around. That is poor filmmaking. You can do better.

    Nonetheless, the style is appropriate.

    No crowd pleaser exactly, this debut shows promise.

    Somebody please give this director a real script the next time.
  • I had high expectations of this movie since it has gotten great reviews but it made me completely disappointed.

    The characters are unconnected and we don't get much answers on who the characters are and why they are doing what they do.

    It is just a bunch of situations with no connection, like a drama version of Family Guy.

    The movie doesn't have any real plot and it feels unfinished.

    The actors are OK but after seeing this movie I just thought: What was that?

    Can't recommend it to anyone