Monday, April 09, 2007

After the wedding comes chaos

Efter brylluppet is the story of Jacob (or is it?), an idealistic Danish man working with orphans in Bombay, who comes to Denmark to convince billionaire industrialist Jørgen about his projects in India and in the process, get him to donate some much-needed moolah. Little known to Jacob, Jørgen is husband to his past lover, Helene and also father to his daughter Anna. Secrets come tumbling out of the closest during Anna's wedding to which Jacob gets invited. The movie has a very solid premise but the treatment is weak.

Mads Mikkelsen as Jacob has a towering screen presence (I kept wondering where I had seen him earlier, until IMDb informed that he played the villain in Casino Royale), but halfway through the story, the focus shifts to Jørgen's anxieties about his impending death. So dramatic and sudden is the turnaround that one is forced to question who the protagonist of the movie is-- Jacob or Jørgen?Also, Jørgen is supposed to come across as the man-of-steel industrialist with a heart of gold. But Rolf Lassgård fails to excite sympathy. That too may be the director's fault, because he is initially portrayed as this no-nonsense man who does not have time for niceties or charity. How then does he turn out to be a messiah of sorts?

The movie is okay in parts, and Stine Fischer Christensen is good as Anna—tender and sympathetic. But why does she look at her fathers--biological and otherwise--like she is about to land wet passionate kisses on them? Sis and I kept thinking that she will be the center of some earth-shattering anti-climax, but no, the movie--excruciatingly long at over two hours--ends without so much as a whimper. And dear Susanne (Susanne Bier--director), panning the camera to a tear-laden eye may boast its effects but only when not done to death. When you start doing this in every scene and in every frame and with every Tom, Dick and Harry, the sublimity of the action tends to wear itself out, right?

An unquestioned failure!

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