"Follows in the trend of unswallowable Swedish pride."
A Swedish Rebel without a Cause confronting the violence and anomie in redress of the same time period’s state of social democracy following the removal of Nazi occupation.(It’s also Sweden’s official submission to the Academy Awards.) A troubled teenager who uses his fists at school (but is whipped at home by his step-father) is expelled, and determined not to be pacified any more, his mother sends him to a private boarding school. There, the rules are of a different diktat than the schooling in Elina — it is the students who run the show to the instructors’ negligence. The student body, however, is run by the upperclassmen, who see it to make it an endurance of hell for those beneath them, as it is a vicious cycle of being knocked around in the lower form and making up for it later. While the tough-minded protagonist tries to avoid conflict, he is too strong-willed (are you seeing a trend of unswallowable pride amongst the Swedish?) to be subjugated to their tortures, and to his burden, fights back. Where it’s lacking in aesthetics, director Mikael Håfström dives headfirst into achieving staggering realism. (Additional support in the realism department comes from Andreas Wilson in the lead, near always wholly believable.) His examination into the manifestation of rage, angst, and this so-called “evil,” is diplomatic and doggedly rooted in a contextual cause-and-effect. Little is done as embellishment or exaggeration, and Håfström’s decision to avoid straying from the realms of the portrait is arguably an asset. It takes some dedication on the viewer’s part to stick around from slowness early on, but the reward is higher at the very end. With Henrik Lundström, Gustaf Skarsgård, Linda Zilliacus, and Marie Richardson.[Worth-seeing.]
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.