Involuntary (De Ofrivilliga) (2008)
Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 17
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 4
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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 443
Filmmaker Ruben Ostlund offers five stories of how human behavior can be interpreted in different ways by different people in this omnibus feature from Sweden. A bus driver (Henrik Vikman) who has pulled over for a routine rest stop discovers someone has damaged a curtain in the bus's washroom, and he decides that his all passengers will have to wait until the guilty party is willing to step forward and confess. A man named Leffe (Leif Edlund Johansson) persuades his friends to help him play a
Nov 28, 2008 Wide
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Östlund's single-shot scenes supply their own beady-eyed concentration, encouraging us to work a bit more. Little by little, it becomes clear the vignettes are chosen to illustrate the fault lines in everyday behaviour.
The definitive moment of this film was when I decided what I was going to order at Starbucks after the credits rolled.
It feels a little random and scattershot, but watching it is a deeply haunting experience.
The intricacies and relevance of some of the cultural references may be lost in translation, but the behaviour of the characters is fairly universal and the cast of unknowns do creditable, believable work.
With wit dry as bone and satire that cuts down to it, Östlund builds a picture of morality in shades of grey.
What does it all mean? I have no idea, and I wonder if director/co-writer Ruben Östlund did either.
Admirers of Todd Solondz's cinema of discomfort will find much to cringe at in this excellent dark comedy from Sweden.
Östlund -- who came to film-making, surreally, from downhill skiing -- zigzags between five stories that are barely stories, just sad, funny, wryly perceptive observations of group activity.
These minor cautionary tales of embarrassment and ostracism are, for the most part, predictable and undramatic, despite the microscope applied to them.
The overall effect is like eavesdropping on a stranger's most mundane moments -- something you'll find either car-crash fascinating or utterly tedious.
Comparisons have been made to Ricky Gervais' comedy of embarrassment, but this is sober, subtler stuff, played less for laughs and more for effect.
Impressively directed and superbly written, this is an engaging and provocative Swedish drama with terrific performances from its cast of (mostly) unknowns.
Audience Reviews for Involuntary (De Ofrivilliga)
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