Friday, February 3, 2012

Deeply Damaged in Denmark: Submarino (2010)*****



                                                          Reviewed by Shu Zin

My guess is that SUBMARINO here means "under water" and describes characters flailing about just below the surface, all of them desperate for something to hang onto for dear life. This is a simple, realistic and extremely affecting slice of the lives of two damaged brothers living in Copenhagen. They can't even see the brass ring, and they have little inspiration and no idea about how to go about grabbing it.



Danish director Thomas Vinterberg embraces sensitive material with unpretentious brilliance, highlighting kindness where he finds it. Actors Jakob Cedergren and Peter Plaugborg deliver nuanced, shattering performances as the two brothers. One of these appealing men has a young son and a big monkey on his back. The older brother has served time in prison for assault; when he comes out, he moves into a grim little room in a government-sponsored halfway house. Here, he drinks prodigiously and lifts weights to augment an empty life. He can barely tolerate the advances of a comely female neighbor.


These two brothers, now estranged, had a neglectful, drunken mother, and they share a horrifying experience as children that has shaped their lives. The supporting cast in this quietly powerful film are perfect, and the writing is intelligent; guilt, love, disenfranchisement and addiction are treated in a subtle, sympathetic and credible way. There are children in this film who will break your heart, as will most of the adults.


SUBMARINO takes a postmodernist view in that this film takes care to remain aloof from any value judgments. This excellent film will find a place in your memory. The characters might sneak into your dreams and haunt you when you least expect it. Not all questions are answered. Like life.

Reviewed by Shu Zin

4 comments:

A. D. Brent said...

Damaged is all too true. Here is my perspective on the film.
http://cosmiclifesketches.blogspot.com/2010/11/reel-rewind-submarino.html

Bob of Holland said...

Love your new header. I was a fan and even saw one of their concerts in Rotterdam.

Bunched Undies said...

Excellent review A.D. Brent, and thanks for commenting.

Bunched Undies said...

Bob: I was a fan too. I loved the way they combined jazz, blues and country influences. Live at the Fillmore was a great album.

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