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After The Wedding
DVD disk
08.07.2007 By: Jason Adams
After The Wedding order
Director:
Susanne Bier

Actors:
Mads Mikkelsen
Rolf Lassgard
Sidse Babett Knudsen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A humanitarian worker managing an orphanage in India returns home to Denmark after many years in order to meet with a potential benefactor. When the wealthy man invites him to his daughter’s wedding, the guest is confronted with a surprisingly personal secret from his past.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
You may refer to an event or situation as life-changing—“Dude, that bean burrito was life-changing!”— but very rarely does the phrase have the serious impact as displayed in this movie. An Oscar nominee this year for Best Foreign Language Film, AFTER THE WEDDING earns its spot on the list as a well-done drama and compelling character study.

It’s definitely a performance driven film as well, with the initial situation set up fairly quickly, leaving the rest of the movie for the characters to react and adapt. Mads Mikkelsen, best known for swinging damage upon Daniel Craig’s nuts in CASINO ROYALE, shows a much different side in WEDDING. He has the same quiet intensity as displayed with Le Chiffre, but more reserved. It’s easy to see how driven the character is given the situation, but he’s not so daunting that you fear for the children’s safety. However, Mikkelsen gets acted around in circles by Rolf Lassgard, who turns in a powerhouse performance. His final scene in the film is so good it’s hard to watch.

The story (and Jacob’s big secret) isn’t exactly new to cinema, but the circumstances and the characters keep it interesting. I really enjoyed that the film wasn’t populated by clear cut good guys and bad guys, but very real characters. Everyone exists in a refreshing gray area; people may act frustrating or deceptive, but they feel honest and for the most part remain likable. Director Susanne Bier does a good job with the visuals, with effective attention to close-ups, body language and some interesting animal imagery.

It’s not a perfect movie, perhaps not as gripping as it could’ve been. Intriguing, yes, but I don’t think it’ll be added to any all-time favorite lists. However, if there was an award for Best Use of The Band Sigur Rós, AFTER THE WEDDING would definitely win (or at least fight it out with Cameron Crowe).
THE EXTRAS
A Conversation with Director Susanne Bier (22:38): A lengthy chat with Bier covering the entire film. It starts off discussing the ending, so beware of spoilers.

Deleted Scenes: About twenty minutes worth of excised footage, with an introduction by the director. Mostly just small character moments that don’t make or break the film.

Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The DVD cover art, with a guy and a girl sitting on steps smiling at each other, makes AFTER THE WEDDING seem like a very different movie. It’s a serious drama about a group of people in crisis, not a romantic comedy. If a solid character-driven piece is what you’re looking for (and you don’t mind subtitles), check out this offering from the other side of the world.

Extra Tidbit: AFTER THE WEDDING should’ve lost its Best Foreign Film Oscar to PAN’S LABYRINTH, not THE LIVES OF OTHERS. (No, I’m not bitter…why do you ask?)
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