Official music page and soapbox of Matt Snell

Monday, 27 June 2011

Film Review: Adam's Apples

A Danish priest takes a paroled neo-Nazi into his church and asks him to set one goal. The neo-Nazi says he's going to bake an apple pie. Film, or ethnic joke? Film! And a good one at that. I enjoyed director Anders Thomas Jensen's The Green Butchers, and I thought Adam's Apples followed that film with black humour intact and an even sharper eye for drama.

The Green Butchers was based on the old feeding-people-human-meat-and-they-love-it routine. A pair of struggling butchers accidentally murder an electrician by locking him in the freezer, and make good on their misfortune selling him by the pound. In that movie too, the dialogue comes off brilliantly despite the subtitles - my favourite line came when one of the main character's asks his mentally challenged brother, a vegetarian, to dispose of some expired chickens. The brother runs weeping to the graveyard and buries them with the eulogy, "So long my friends. Fly up to heaven and ask for good weather."

Out of context, that scene sounds like it could come from a piece of Farrelly Brothers trash. What separates Jensen's movies is that somehow his characters retain a sense of dignity through it all.  Watch Mads Mikkelsen's performance in Adam's Apples and you'll see what I mean. I'm a sucker for this type of film, like a good Polanski or Coen Brothers, where the sense of unreality is heavy but nothing overtly surreal tips the scales. This film is similar to the Coen's A Serious Man in that it plays with a Book of Job theme, and although that film is grower, this one beats it if narrative is what you're after. The pacing in Adam's Apples is strong and moves from trial to trial briskly while upping the ante each time. The play with religious themes was subtle enough to appeal to anyone.

I seldom laughed out loud watching this one, but I did get a sense of satisfaction knowing that it was funny on a subliminal level. I'd skip it if black humour wasn't my thing, but anyone with a taste for it should look Adam's Apples up.

P.S.: I didn't want to write it up since it doesn't fit the usual aesthetic here on Bang & Jangle, but this weekend I also really, really enjoyed Mike Leigh's Another Year. Any time you're looking for a keenly observed and finely acted piece focusing on normal people you can't do better.

No comments:

Post a comment