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Thursday, January 14, 2010

TERRIBLY HAPPY (FRYGTELIG LYKKELIG)

By D.E.Levine

Director: Henrik Ruben Gertz
Writers: Henrik Ruben Gertzmand Dunja Gry-Jensen (screenplay); Erling Jepsen (novel)
Producers: Tina Dalhoff and Thomas Gammeltoft
Cast: Jakob Cedergren, Lene Maria Christensen, Kim Bodnia, Lars Brygmann, Anders Hove, Jens Jorn Spottag, Henrik Lykkegaard, Brodil Jorgensen, Peter Hesse Overgaard, Neils Skousen, Lars Lunoe, Sune Q. Geertsen, Mathilde Maack, Ahn Le, Taina Anneli R. Berg, Puk ScharbSau, Kenn Bruun, Mads Ole Langelund Larsen, Joakim Schierning, Bent Larsen and Thorkild Demuth
Original Music: Kaafe Bjerke
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Country of Origin: Denmark
Language: Danish
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A Copenhagen policeman, assigned to punishment duty as a Marshall in a southern Jutland village, discovers the village is full of secrets.

Transferred to the border town of Skarrild after a mental breakdown brought on by his wife's cheating and his own response, Robert discovers that the local population scorns the "by-the-book" law enforcement techniques and prefer their own clannish and secretive brand of frontier justice.

Robert soon learns that outsiders can either adapt or they will disappear. This becomes apparent when another outsider, a beaten wife, Ingelise, turns to him to escape her abusive husband, Jorgen.

At this point the plot takes surprising twists and turns that defy typical genre conventions. A brilliant scene is the confrontation between Robert and Jorgen that takes the form of a drinking contest instead of a typical shootout.

The casting is perfect and the performances memorable. One has to give credit to the director, Genz for the performances and the cinematography. He knows how to shoot scenes that are effective. The film, under Genz's direction becomes a mixture of thriller, Western, noir and horror with comic tinges.

Although definitely an art house film that will have limited distribution in the U.S., this film will have a following.