Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Somewhat Gentle Man

A person leaving jail is a common opening film scene (e.g. Zift and Sherrybaby), but don't hold this cliché against A Somewhat Gentle Man. Don't hold the bleak, winter urban setting and slow pace against this film either, because unlike some of the Scandinavian comedies I've seen, which are not only dark, but also surreal (e.g. The Bothersome Man), the most surreal thing here are the coincidences. Stay with A Somewhat Gentle Man beyond its slow, unpromising start (and occasional violence) to enjoy some off beat humour delivered slowly, unexpectedly and sometimes below the belt.

Ulrik having finished a 12 year stretch for murder, discovers that his old crime boss is more keen on revenge against the man who squealed to the police 12 years ago than he is. But how can he upset the man who also finds him his first job and place to live (even if the room has a clanging metal door)? In fact the world is divided into those that want to take advantage of him and those who don't want to know him.

You know that you are not in Kansas when a woman, arriving home with her young son, is horrified to find her husband kneeling in a pool of piss on the living room floor with a gun to his head, reacts by offering to make everyone some tea. If you like black comedy delivered with barely a drop of melodrama then this is your sort of film. There is even a happy ending of sorts.

Ian's rating 3.5/5

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