Per Holst

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Twist And Shout Review


Very Good
Hey, Danish kids grow up too!

In his second film, director Bille August (best known for the monumental disaster Smilla's Sense of Snow) attempts to capture both his national zeitgeist and the perils of youth in one fell swoop. And he does, to some extent.

Continue reading: Twist And Shout Review

The Element Of Crime Review


Good
Before he decided camera trickery was actually a bad thing (in re his Dogme 95 movement), Lars von Trier couldn't get enough of it -- as is evident in his first English-language feature, The Element of Crime. A twisted tale of a cop who undergoes a hypnotic treatment in order to track down a serial killer of young girls, Crime is shot under almost exclusively red lighting, giving the impression that you are seeing the film through a haze of blood.

This is interesting for five minutes, but after 105 it gets tedious to an extreme. It also makes it extremely difficult to actually see what's going on -- not only is everything red, but the whole film is shot at night and almost all of it in the rain.

Continue reading: The Element Of Crime Review

All Things Fair Review


Very Good
Every teenage boy's fantasy comes true in the Swedish film All Things Fair, when schoolboy Stig (Johan Widerberg) becomes smitten with his teacher, Viola (Charlotte Rampling lookalike Marike Lagercrantz). After some embarassing prodding into young lust with his mates, the 14-year-old boy starts making awkward passes at his sexy, 37-year-old teacher. She resists at first, but it isn't long before she and Stig are romping in the hay, as she finds the passion in Stig she doesn't get from her hard-drinking, never-home husband.

Now a film like this can only end in unimaginable tragedy, and All Things Fair delivers on that front. Set in 1943 Scandinavia, World War II is a hazy backdrop as director Bo Widerberg (father of Johan), focuses on this small yet incredibly intense drama. It's easy to forget the draggy middle (when Stig befriends Viola's husband and he spends half an hour pontificating before passing out on the table), when all hell breaks loose in the end. The catalyst for the finale is Stig's relationship with Lisbet (Karin Huldt), a girl of his own generation who Stig (like every boy) finally realizes he has a whole lot more in common with. (Prudes and censors be warned, the oft-topless Huldt was just 16 years old when the film was made.) As the saying goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and the worst comes out in everyone by the finish.

Continue reading: All Things Fair Review

Per Holst

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