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Summary: A story about two brothers marked by a childhood of gloom. They were separated from each other at a young age by a tragedy that split their entire family. Today, Nick's life is drenched in alcohol and plagued by violence, while his kid brother, a solo-parent, struggles as a junkie to give his son a better life. Their paths cross, making a confrontation inevitable, but is redemption possible?
Slightly more complex than some films of this kind, but that is also to say there is something generic about this type of thing, however downbeat the genre (in this instance, very). Despite aiming for realism and being generally well-acted, the narrative was still too contrived, and the filmmaker's manipulation of the audience's heartstrings rather too transparent, even if this was mostly done in a low-key register here. In the end, in spite of everything, it was all a little too conventional.
The low-key drama is decent and believable, but tormented characters don't necessarily equal interesting ones. Stylistically dull too - only the haunting songs by Agnes Obel and Choir of Young Believers demands your full attention. Vinterberg's great comeback? Not so much.
Submarino is an interesting movie. I feel that the interaction between the two brothers, the main plot of the film, is way too sparse and that the turn-arounds come off way too harshly and not very sopisticated. However, I am a big Thomas Vinterberg fan and as I suspected he has managed to catch a very authentic atmosphere, everything in this movie feels and looks very real; you really feel for the characters and their environment. I really liked the ending, which in turn shows a new beginning.
"Things get damaged, things get broken. I thought we'd manage, but words left unspoken." Vinterberg's return to form plays out like a mash-up of (the virtues of) Dogme mixed with "Requiem for a Dream" pessimism. It's a rare movie - and gifted director - that manages to delve into material this bleak without seeming exploitive. Breakout performances from Cedergren and Plaugborg as the wounded, strangely relatable brothers help "Submarino" convey its points about family ties both cut and mended.
In short, Vinterberg is back in a very well made social realistic drama, with great acting and a lot of relevance. Based on a great book, by the way. I'd like to point out that Cedergren in the leading part, is perfect. Additionally, this film recently won a Nordic Film of the Year-award, 2010. [Full Review]
*Spoilers ahoy*: Made me feel depressed and powerless. To think that in a society as rich as ours, great actors can still be forced to commit to such mundane dramas. Vinterberg has said that this is a return to film school. I'd say! With three deaths, a serial killer and an amputation, the actors are left to rot in the story's fatalistic schema. The Italian neorealist cinema has sported far more potent films about poverty, using a lot less extraordinary plot devices. Go for one of those.
Great film... Vinterberg is back. Slow paced style that allows us to understand the characters (especially Cedergren, who is solid as always) and not just hustle through it. It misses out on some (in my opinion) important passages from the book and that is what doesnt make it a superb film.
A sombre tale of two brothers divided by life, brought together by the loss of a family member. The two journeys spiral down with no counterbalance, the end result being a tedious, unrewarding package of drugs, alcohol, violence and sex.