My questions in bold, Adam’s answers are below!
Thanks Adam! My review is below!
“Terribly Happy” tells the story of a cop named Robert (Jakob Cedergren) who made some kind of (initially undisclosed) error in judgment, and is now being reassigned from the big city to a small town.
Upon his arrival, it doesn’t take him long to realize that the town is isolated, insular and irregular. The locals are a tight knit community with their own way of dealing with things, and they’re not too keen on his big city ways of policing. Robert first comes in to town determined to atone for his mistakes and to play things by the book, but he finds himself outnumbered by the townsfolk, all of whom would rather see him become a part of the town as opposed to being an outside representative of the law.
When he begins an affair with the wife of the town bully, though, things really go off plan for him. Before long, tragedy arises, and Robert will have to answer who is is and what he stands for.
“Terribly Happy” is a chilling little film. The lead character is unstable, even though he wants to be morally upright. He spends most of the film trying to be heroic, but the moments when he wavers or makes mistakes have epic consequences. He’s also haunted by the mistakes of his past… from having guilt and regret to needing meds, you’re always aware that the things he’s done are weighing on him.
The town he finds himself in is a small hamlet with few people, yet it manages to be full of secrets and shadows. He’s immediately wary that there’s more to the townfolk than meets the eye, and when he first gets a taste of their ideas of “justice”, it doesn’t sit well with him. By the end of the film, however, his moral certitude is fading, and he finds himself starting to fall in step.
It’s splendidly directed by Henrik Ruben Genz. The setting is bleak, and he uses it to highlight his themes of regret and remorse. There were numerous well done shots that visually represented something he wanted to get across, especially the mirroring between the antagonist and protagonist. It was quite clever, I found it very well done. He also gets solid acting across the boards from his cast.
It all adds up to an atmospheric, tense crime drama. Part noir, part psychological thriller. It was Denmark’s submission to the Oscars in the 2008 Foreign Language film category, and I can see why. A haunting, disturbing little film. I liked it quite a bit!