Wednesday, September 10, 2014

En Chance Til (A Second Chance) 2014

With all the hype around the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one can easily get lost in the multi-channel translations and all the foreign movie stars that flirt with the many cameras. And every now and then, the movie goer is treated to an emotionally riveting film, such as En chance til (2014) by Susanne Bier (trailers: dm, yt).

nikolaj-coster-waldau---en-chance-tilThe impact of this movie hinges on your acceptance of a rather unlikely and less than plausible event. If you do accept it (or if you don’t notice how unlikely that is to happen and how little is built up), then this is an emotionally riveting masterpiece. You are thus more likely to appreciate this movie if you feed off the news cycle or if you are a regular reader of tabloids.

I am not going to spoil the movie for you by disclosing the aforementioned event, but I will tell you that the [first, apparent] villain is rather too subdued to be credible. This may very well be because I’ve been desensitized by today’s over-the-top performances, yet it seems to me that an even more credible and violent abuser (having tattoos and doing drugs is something most Torontonians are quite familiar with, even before our celebrity Mayor, so it does not qualify as scary any more), would have better prepared the viewers for the upcoming leap of faith.

When I first looked up the movie it had about 8.8/10 on IMDB with around 10 voters; I gave it 7/10 and it soon dropped to 8.7/10 with 15 voters. The movie started with the intro with the producer, and ended with the Q&A at the end.


I had a free ticket for the show, but when I got there I no longer had it; it’s complicated proving you had a ticket – it involves ID look-up, etc. Luckily, somebody who had extra tickets offered to sell me one, then she offered it free, as a gift. Then inside, lived with the fear that some random dude was going to stand during the projection.

Though Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is most likely to gather recognition and turn heads on the street for his role in the Game of Thrones, I was there for the director, Susanne Bier. Her 2010 creation, In a Better World won the 2011 Oscar for Foreign Film. Other Danish movies I watched, such as Superclasico (2011), were a hit with friends but not so much with me. Yet there seems to be a distinctly (general) Scandinavian approach to filmmaking, of which En Chance Til is also part, which involves ethical dilemmas in minimalist decor. Loneliness, alienation and cold parenting are some of the main ingredients of Scandinavian drama, in a sense that even though they may be present in other movies as well, they are somehow more pregnant in those heralding from that part of the world. I credit the still strong Lutheran influence on the society.

20140910-2ndchanceBut most of all, this movie reminds me of my own ethical inner fights.

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This is the second film released by Bier since Serena with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper completed filming and I can’t help feeling that the best is yet to come.

Sources / More info: imdb, hwr, imdb-iabw, cv

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