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Sunday, April 15, 2012

FRYKTELLIG LYKKELIG / TERRIBLY HAPPY (2008)

Danish tv director Henrik Ruben Genz hits the big screen with this rural police thriller which tries to bend the circular logic & minimalist stylings of Ari Kaurismaki to the creepy-crawly moral vacuum world view of David Lynch. He earns points for atmosphere, but the story proves impossible to swallow. Jakob Cedergren (a ringer for Ben Affleck) is the big city cop who messes up his life and gets sent to small town purgatory as the new police chief. But this seemingly quiet town hides a lot of secrets, many of them buried in the local bog. Talk about sticking your foot in it. The main story has the chief getting too involved in a domestic dispute between the town bully, his troubled wife & their sad little girl. But, in a prime example of the pitfalls of adapting a novel, the character development & plot twists that worked on the page prove faintly ridiculous on the screen. You can’t buy in. And Genz doesn’t help the cause with idiotic POV shots like an early stumble that looks UP thru the water in a toilet bowl. Too bad, a lot of good stuff goes to waste here.

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