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Dispite the sentimentalism, Submarino is a very good work from Vinterberg, that presents interestings actings and a captivating screenplay with strong scenes and strong theme. Fresh.
There's a very fine line between probing into human failings and all-out misery. Director Thomas Vinterberg's latest balances itself precariously between the two throughout, wavering between plot elements that seem grounded in its characters' emotional realities and those that are unnecessarily grim. Ultimately however, the movie redeems itself thanks to fine ensemble work and its daring, assured direction.
"Submarino" is the unforgettable story of two brothers, long estranged and haunted by a dark secret buried in their past, who live separate lives in modern day Copenhagen. Nick (Jakob Cedergren), a violent ex-con, tries to help out an old friend, but falls quickly into old habits. Meanwhile, his brother (Peter Plaugborg), raises his son, but is unable to escape his own demons of addiction. Each is on a path to self-destruction, and they must find each other -- before it's too late.
The cast is uniformly strong -- both Cedegren and Plaugborg are solidly believable in their roles. Cedegren's acting, minimal and yet poignant, is especially remarkable. Vinterberg has a genuine respect for his characters and a desire to see them transcend their trappings, and his film, in turn, mostly succeeds where it could so easily have fallen short. When its numerous narrative threads finally converge, the resulting pathos feels genuinely earned and authentic.
Adapted from the novel by Jonas T. Bengtsson, "Submarino" was an official selection at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.
Gritty realism and naturalistic performances are highlights of this movie. The narrative, telling two overlapping stories, doesn't flow as well as intended, losing focus somewhat, but it eventually picks up towards an unsatisfying conclusion.
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