[Note: The film was originally seen last year at the Toronto film festival; this review was posted in the appropriate festival thread on 11/13/05]
The Danish nominee in the foreign-language category for 2005 Academy Awards, Adams Apples (Adam's bler) is an equal opportunity offender from director/screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen. This black comedy/satire, which incidentally also offers a few views on its own good vs. evil morality tale, fires at just about anything it could possibly find. But even at times when certain situations threaten to engulf the overall proceedings in its darkness, Jensens consummate skill as a storyteller allows him to take charge and navigate the fine line that hes created for the material. In the opening scene, a neo-Nazi skinhead, Adam (Ulrich Thomson, one of the finest actors in Denmark today), arrives in an idyllic small town, and is greeted by his supervisor, Ivan (Mads Mikkelson), a humorless minister of the local church. Much to his surprise, Adam is assigned to take care of an apple tree after he blithely stated that he wants to bake an apple pie during his stay. He is further astonished to learn that the two other men under Ivans guardianship, an obese rapist/alcoholic and a Saudi robber, have seemingly only gotten worse. However, what really ends up ticking Adam off are Ivans theological musings after the tree gets attacked by ravens, prompting Adam to attempt proving to his mentor that evil exists, and its the "book of job" which helps him along the way. But, of course, things don't turn out to be quite that simple! Adam's Apples, the third directorial effort of Jensen -- best known for his work with Suzanne Bier (he co-wrote both of her films: Open Hearts  and Brothers ) -- quite deliberately features both scandalous humor and perturbing violence in close vicinity of each other, often making one wonder how to react. However, whats compelling is the film's penchant for occasionally justifying itself. The clarity of Jensens overall agenda could be questioned, but his cast, which also includes the likes of Paprika Steen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, is immaculate.
*ADAM'S APPLES doesn't have a U.S. distributor at this point. The film is available on Danish DVD with English subtitles.