Movies You Missed & More: After the Wedding | Live Culture

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Movies You Missed & More: After the Wedding

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2013 at 4:49 PM

This week in movies you (probably) missed: Beware of last-minute wedding guests. Or: Hannibal Lecter plays a do-gooder.

Not really. But I'm so obsessed with NBC's "Hannibal" (and, if you enjoy David Lynch-esque imagery, fine food and/or the grotesque, you should be, too) that I've practically forgotten Anthony Hopkins. I can't look at Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (pictured) without thinking of him making sorbet out of somebody's spleen, and being so very civil and charming about it.

Because he's so memorable on the show, I decided to explore Mikkelsen's filmography, which is plentiful on Netflix Instant. I saw a trailer for the Danish film After the Wedding at the Palace 9 back in 2007; the Oscar-nominated drama played for about a week there, if I remember correctly. So there's a good chance you missed it.

What You Missed: Mikkelsen plays Jacob, who runs an orphanage for street kids in India. To secure a huge donation from a Danish businessman, he must return to his homeland for an interview — which he does with reluctance, leaving behind an orphan whom he treats like a son.

Back in Denmark, the businessman (Rolf Lassgård) is preparing for his daughter's wedding on their palatial estate. He seems less interested in Jacob's charity than in inviting him to the festivities, which Jacob begrudgingly attends. There he's stunned to find a familiar face — the magnate's lovely wife (Sidse Babett Knudsen).

She and Jacob have a history whose effects will reverberate through the wedding and beyond. The businessman has a few secrets up his sleeve, too.

Should You Keep Missing It?

After the Wedding comes to us from writer-director Susanne Bier, whose previous movie was the excellent Brothers (excellent by comparison with the American remake starring Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman, anyway). She's clearly skilled at choosing and working with actors. Still, I found this movie a bit of a Lifetime-style melodrama, once you get past the arty style.

The film is something of a bait-and-switch. At the beginning, Jacob's surrogate son asks him why he doesn't want to return to Denmark, and Jacob says that first-world people and their problems have become trivial and boring to him. He's seen so many starving kids forced into prostitution that he really couldn't care less about a rich dude facing his mom's dementia; or a sheltered young bride whose groom is cheating on her.

Then the film shifts its focus to the somewhat soapy travails of the ultra-rich Hannson family and asks both Jacob and the viewer to care about them. A lot. I did care to some extent, because Lassgård and Knudsen are stellar actors, but when the focus shifted to their spoiled, weepy daughter (Stine Fischer Christensen), I had a harder time. The character just isn't well written enough to justify the way Bier's camera dotes on her.

As for Mikkelsen, well, he pretty much sulks and smolders his way through this role, which I enjoyed. Dude is intense, and good at suggesting layers beneath a mild exterior. But, again, his character just isn't sufficiently fleshed out for me to buy the conclusion that all that smoldering leads to.

If Bier means to suggest that we should look to our own flesh and blood before trying to solve the world's problems, her footage of India belies that conclusion — it's more alive than anything else in the movie.

Verdict: I think Hannibal would make a very nice wedding guest. Just don't let him bring any of his home-brewed beer, 'cause you never know what was in those barrels.

More streamable Movies You Missed with Mikkelsen: Valhalla Rising, Adam's Apples, last year's Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair (which had short runs at the Roxy and Savoy). I may check some out for future installments.

On DVD This Week

Tom Hanks wears six different wigs and uses six different accents in Cloud Atlas. Somebody made a 3-D sequel called Texas Chainsaw.

In Theaters This Week

All Star Trek Into Darkness, all the time. I will be reviewing this Benedict Cumberbatchful installment.

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About The Author

Margot Harrison

Margot Harrison

Bio:
Margot Harrison is the Associate Editor at Seven Days; she coordinates literary and film coverage. In 2005, she won the John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.

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