Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Another Love Story: Grade A

Just Another Love Story (2007)
Anders W. Berthelsen, Rebecka Hemse, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Charlotte Fich; Writer & Director Ole Bornedal. (Danish, subtitled).

An ordinary family man living an ordinary life is in a car accident. The other driver becomes traumatically blind and amnesic. To get into the hospital to see how she is doing, he says he is her boyfriend. Her family is there and assumes he is the boyfriend they know about but have not met. Through deft directing and scriptwriting, it happens that he can’t get a word in edgewise so goes along with the ruse. The injured woman shows some improvement so the wealthy family urges him to visit often, which he does. He soon falls for the recovering woman and is accepted into her family, giving him a whole new life. However, as you might guess, things do not work out perfectly for him in the end.

It is a well-crafted story with just a few psychological loopholes, but they are small and no story is airtight. Suspense is high and the pace never flags. Characters are plausibly motivated. Acting is terrific, music attractive, mood-setting, but unobtrusive. Sets are quite good, except I got tired of the hospital bedside scene, which was overused. Cinematography and directing are exciting and creative. The filmmakers intercut pictures and juxtapose sound tracks aggressively as part of the storytelling, but it’s not overdone. The opening is especially creative. Sadly, the ending is a compromise. It is by no means a happy ending, but a jarring, self-referential voiceover attempts to insert some ironic humor into what would otherwise have been a very bleak ending indeed. It is supposed to be film noir, but apparently the market doesn’t take noir very well, so the filmmakers lightened it up, the spineless chickens. Apart from that, this is a nearly perfect mystery-thriller.

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