Binging on Mads Mikkelsen Films (Part 6)
This going to be my last batch of reviews for a while as I am headed off to Comic Con. Yes, there will be a Hannibal panel. No, Mads won’t be there. But I will! And reporting on the panel is something I plan on doing right here on The Geekiary. In this installment I review Open Hearts, Pusher II, and The Caretaker.
For reviews of En Kort en Lang, Bleeder, Flammen og Citronen, Blinkende Lygeter, Pusher, Nu, Valhalla Rising, Adams Aebler, Vildspor, After the Wedding, Jagten, The Three Muskateers, Prag, Die Tur, and Tom Merrit head on over to my review page.
Mads players Niels, a doctor and a family man whose life goes down an unexpected path after his wife hits and paralyzes a man with her car. Yes, you guessed it, this is another sad Danish film! And boy is it sad. Niels is an adorable sympathetic man, though, and despite all the tragedy Mads’ performance actually made me smile. Whereas in other films he reduced me to tears with a simple twitch of his eye or curl of his lips, in this one he had me beaming with happiness in the midst of terrible circumstances. This man has a gift. The plot, however, is not so happy. It’s a tragic romance that left me terribly conflicted.
Without giving too much away, this is yet another role where Mads plays a man who cheats on his spouse. First there was Jacob in En Kort en Lang and then David in Die Tur and although I ultimately loved both of these characters, that part didn’t sit well with me. I haven’t hid the fact that this plot element makes me very uncomfortable, but for some reason I felt less uncomfortable with this one than I have in the others. It’s very hard to pinpoint why.
Niels has an amazing family and a wonderful, kind, understanding wife and he blatantly lies to everyone. Meanwhile you have Cecilie, who is in a vulnerable position and desperate for a connection with someone. All of this points to the affair being absolutely horrible and unjustifiable… but for some reason when he and Cecilie have an intimate scene together my eyes filled with little hearts and I smiled. I was horrifically conflicted for the entire film because it hurt so many people, but for some reason I felt like their love was genuine. The guilt I feel about this is almost as much as the guilt I feel for actually liking Hannibal Lecter. It sucks, man.
Bonuses: tender loving Mads Mikkelsen and Mads in a shower naked (you see butt). I know those are probably important to some (most?) of you. So if you can tolerate yet another infidelity flick, the sweet sexy Mads scenes are worth it. Very worth it.
Mads is back as Tony in the sequel to the first Pusher film. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first one, but Tony is the protagonist in this film whereas he was just a secondary character that got beat up and ignored for the later half of the film. Tony has grown a lot in this film, but he is undoubtedly the same irresponsible criminal from the first film. There’s a pain in his eyes, though, and I have no idea how Mads can convey so much hurt so subtly on his face. It’s amazing, really. Tony in the first film was relatively carefree, but reality crushes in on him in the sequel and I found myself sympathizing with him a lot more than in the first film. He’s still far from my favorite character, but I liked him a lot more than I did the first time around.
Bonus: More Mads butt! Mads in very skimpy tight briefs. And for a very brief moment he is full front as well, but if you blink you’ll miss it. Let’s not even pretend this isn’t important. You know it’s vital information for your film viewing experience. He spends a lot of the first part of the film in various stages of undress and it is fabulous. Enjoy!
The Caretaker (Viceværten)
I picked this one because it was short (16 minutes) and I wanted to get up another batch of reviews before I disappear for a week. This film is done in the style of classical Hollywood Film Noir (which in and of itself is based on German Expressionist Cinema). It has the same atmosphere as the Maltese Falcon or Notorious. That said, it’s obviously a much simpler plot given it’s shorter running length and it doesn’t have nearly as high of a budget. The film is also choppily edited and the copy I had was very grainy. In fact, it’s been really hard finding any information on this film at all. It didn’t even have subtitles. All I had was a link a friend gave me. So in other words, have fun trying to find it! This is definitely a rare film.
Mads plays a creepy guy who likes to take pictures of a woman in the adjacent building without her knowledge. In a scene reminiscent of Rear Window he ends up witnessing a traumatic event through his voyeurism. He tries to fix the situation, but things just get progressively weirder and weirder and weirder. The weirdness does not stop. The ending is kind of a mind trip, to be honest. Should you see this film? I don’t know. Like Nu, you must be warned it is pretty heavily stylized, but it’s quality is a hell of a lot lower. The lack of subtitles also makes the already confusing plot even more confusing. By the end you can piece together what you’ve just watched, but as you go through the film it can be a bit complicated to follow. Mads is gorgeous, though. But when is he not? (Well, based on the pictures I’ve seen he’s not so hot in The Green Butchers, but I have not yet actually watched that film). So if you can find it, try it, but be prepared to have to put in some thinking time afterwards.
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.