After the Wedding
Sweet sorrow permeates through Susanne Bier's Oscar nominated "After the Wedding", a quietly testing film that tepidly breaks free from the shackles of the Dogme manifestoes to deliver an incredibly subtle celebration of family. Paternal pacification is as good a reason as any to explore with overwhelming and eloquent sentimentality when Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen) is arm-twisted into returning to his native Denmark to seek out funds for his orphanage's young charges in India. He meets with the seemingly magnanimous Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard, filling the screen with his sheer presence), a millionaire that invites him to his daughter's wedding and in the process sets the wheels of redemption into motion. Bier's most prominent work thus far is also her most joyous when she bravely evokes the goodness in her characters, working the circumstances to peel away the layers of tacit human desires and destructive pride. Blessed with superlative performances across the board, a particularly inspired turn by Mikkelsen serves as Bier's dramatic lynchpin for her film's gentle twists and turns. But even its sudsy plot developments work well in Bier's kinetic and expertly crafted dreamworld, which despite its otherworldly state still manages to disclose the bare and conspicuous design of mortality and compassion.
Rating: 4 out of 5