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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Frygtelig Lykkelig (Terribly Happy)


I watched this movie some time ago, and I’ve been postponing writing this review. Why? Well…

"Terribly Happy" was chosen by the Danish Oscar-committee as Denmark's entry for the Academy Award nominations 2010. The film is sold to over 40 countries including the USA, and it appears that an American remake of "Terribly Happy" is in preproduction.

This is director Henrik Ruben Genz' third feature film. The screenplay, based on a novel by Erling Jepsen, is also by Henrik Ruben Genz and Dunja Gry Jensen.


The movie has received several International awards: Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2008, Special Police Award at Beaune International Thriller Film Festival 2009, Best Film at Bilbao FANT 2009, Best Director at Chicago International Film Festival 2008, Best Script at Festroia - Troia International Film Festival…and a few more.

And yet, I don’t like it at all. And I had such high hopes about this movie.

The story begins with a policeman – Robert – being transferred to a remote small town. There’s a reason to it, as we will find out. Right from the beginning we realize it’s a strange place, with strange habits. As it seems to happen a lot in small, remote locations, the villagers live by their own laws and solve matters in their own way. Contrary to what we might expect, Robert adjusts well, in fact too well and too fast.




The problem is that I found the plot predictable and uninteresting. I think I even spaced out watching this movie that I was so eager to watch. And it seemed familiar…but worst than whatever movie it was reminding me of.

I couldn’t relate to the main character, empathize, sympathize, or even hate him. Any feelings would have been a good thing, but it didn’t happen. After that, of course, the movie lost interest. I couldn’t care less about what was going to happen with Robert. I also found the other characters obnoxious or, in most cases, too one-dimensional.

About the cinematography, lately I’ve started to suspect that any movie with a camera lingering over desolated landscapes in the middle of nowhere will have an “outstanding” cinematography. As much as I love desolated landscapes, I beg to differ. It has a good cinematography, but let´s not go wild about it, please.

The acting is good, but not memorable. I hope to see good acting in most movies I watch, and I think that’s what actors are supposed to do. When I mention someone’s acting, that means it’s good enough for me to be on the look for any other movies with that actor or actress. It won’t happen with any of this casting. Actually I have to rephrase, there is a very good performance, since I enjoyed a lot the stellar, self-contained performance of the cat.

Apart from that, the song at the end of the movie, by singer Kira, is very good. That’s what I liked more about the movie. And the fact it ended, actually.

I’m sorry, but this is not "Babette's Feast" or "Pelle the Conqueror", both two amazingly good movies.

By the way, since this movie’s plot was somehow familiar to me, I started going through my mind film files (yes, I have those) and I found out why. If anyone wants to watch a good movie, I recommend U Turn, directed by Oliver Stone.

Yellow light.

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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