I don't know when or how it happened, but recently I have been beginning to look toward Norway for good films, and it hasn't been in vain.
As in Sönner, where a completely unknown director (for me anyways) get a bunch of even more unknown actors together and the result isn't bad at all. Au contraire it is actually a pretty good movie.
Usually we are used to see pretty light, or feel-good movies like Elling, Fritt Vildt and Himmelfall, but here we are taken straight down into the darkness and a subject that we all have strong feelings about, pedophilia.
The protagonist, a young pool-guard, one day just put down his foot and says "Enough", a bit like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, when he suspect a pedophile in the pool. The result is excellent. The actor really pulls it off, with just the right amount of anger and frailness, and his presence is world class. The interacting between his character and the prostitute that lives next door is top.
I really hope that I will discover more of these Norwegian diamonds when I keep looking west. I confess, I do believe Norway has passed Sweden when it comes to making good and unexpected movies.
I will keep a look out for more movies from Erik Richter Strand and will definitely keep my eyes open for Nils Jörgen Kallstad
Has Mr Atkinson run out of millions already? Why make another Mr Bean full lenght movie when the last one proved that this weir character obviously is so much better in a shorter TV-format. The questions this film bring are many. How thin can a script become before it is nothing at all? Is being ugly enough when the slapstick is almost gone? This movie has, as it's prequel, some really funny moments. Most of them are repeated over and over and for those who has seen the TV-show and the other movie, it's all in all the same little gags all over again. I think Mr Atkinson is brilliant when he is at his best, but this movie has the same problem as the first. Time. It is hard to fill an hour and a half with this kind of humor. The script is another problem. The story seemed to be written during a lunch, most of the funny scenes seems to be improvised without any goals except the thin script. The camera work are exactly the same as in the last movie with the exception that half of it seem to be through Mr Beans hand-held one. Sequels usually sucks, but this movie makes me squirm ragtime. Is Rowan Atkinson really that poor that he must squeeze the last dollars from this dying character.
I found myself cheering every time the giant lizard ate another one of these crappy actors.
Every line is a cliché, the effects are made on decade old computers, and the actors must have been friends of the director. All in all I get the expression that they collected some guys, gave them some gun replicas and gave them a couple of lines each. It really feels like a cheap TV-show on sci-fi channel or something, with special effects substandard to even high school media students. Who on earth gave these guys funds for this. I bet someone is having rich parents.
This film made me angry. For wasting my time, as well as others.
I don't really know how they have gotten Peter Postlethwaite and John Hurt to be in this picture since they have actually done some good work before. The basic plot is OK, nothing out of the ordinary, but the main problem with this movie is the dialogue and language. Since the leading actor, if he is an actor at all, seem to put all of his focus to master the English language, he sometimes reaches the peaks of Jean Claude Van Damme, and that is not a good compliment. The dialogues is also absolutely horrible and I doubt that even a cast change would make it any better. There ares some good filming, cinematography and locations though. And these things puts my rating up a notch. If this is a German production, please make it in German. All this movie becomes in the end is a try to make Hollywood notice them and it shows in clichés in dialogue and scenes. And for heavens sake. At least try to make the characters 3-dimensional.
But alas, mind you, this could have been a very good movie..
What this film suffers from, and so many other Swedish contemporary films, are the lack of individuality. The glances towards Hollywood are obvious especially in the editing and the cliché's in manuscript. The script is the biggest flaw here. The historical angle (even though a bit resculpted) works fine, but the dialog is absolutely horrible. And as mentioned the cliché's and straight forward plot could have (and has been) stolen from many American adventurefilms. The camera work are very good, the mis-en-scene works fine as well even though the budget was low. Some of the wholeness and flow is disrupted and destroyed from the editing, especially in the fighting scenes. It seems that sometimes the producer has stepped in and said "Too little action here boys, fix that!" The result is just bad version of Matrix crosscutting. Sound works fine as well, works fine on surround. The music tends to be a bit repetitive though. The last twenty minutes plays the same "tick-tock" inspired music that has been in every Swedish TV- production since times beginning. (A pedagogical way to show the viewer that time is of essence. Feel free to get stressed.)
All in all it works as a film made for TV. There are some good actors here but they often get nowhere with their twodimensional characters and lousy dialog.
Biggest plus: A daring try to make film out of Swedish history. Biggest minus: The scriptwriter should be flogged.