A bio-pic from writer/director Jan Troell, the sort of film where the dead return for ghostly tête-à-têtes veiled in black. But then, the whole film might be veiled in black, or artsy grey monochrome, from its first elegant composition to its last. The fact-based story extols the journalistic legacy of Sweden’s Torgny Segerstedt, a strong-willed editor who made it his mission to bash Hitler early & often, increasingly in the face of rising fears from business leaders, friends, government officials, even the King. And as the clear-cut political scene darkened once Finland was attacked by a German-allied Russia, then twisted into diplomatic knots after Germany broke their treaty to invade Russia, Segerstedt held to his beliefs. But where the public Segerstedt was the soul of consistency, the private Segerstedt was the soul of inconsistency, parsing drams of affection & longing between his ailing wife, the wife of his best friend, and his office assistant. Dramatically, they add little to the political passions. You keep waiting for the next veiled ghost to turn up.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Troell got more traction with HAMSUN/’96, a Nazi-era bio-pic on the politic folly of Norway’s most famous author.