Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

R is a must-see. Movie


Co-written and co-directed by Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer, R is a 2010 Danish prison drama starring Pilou Asbæk, Dulfi Al-Jabouri, Roland Møller, Jacob Gredsted and Omar Shargawi.
Rune (Asbæk) has just been sent to a maximum security prison in Denmark. Filled with hardened criminals, Rune initially hopes to keep his head down and avoid getting involved in the prison's pecking order but soon finds out this is an impossible task when he is forced to join a gang, deal with a fellow inmate or be dealt with himself. Rune succeeds and soon strikes up a friendship with Rashid (al-Jabouri) and the two come up with a scheme to transport drugs from one part of the prison to another. But just as Rune starts to think he has gained stature in the jail's hierarchy, he finds out that achieving a position of power might be easier than maintaining it.
Co-written and co-directed by two former documentary filmmakers, R is a gritty prison drama with a documentary-like feel. Shot in Denmark's Horsens Prison, which was shut down a few months before filming started, and featuring plenty of real life ex-cons and prison guards in supporting roles, the film has realistic feel, which is only enhanced by its stark sound design, lack of soundtrack and austere cinematography. The performances are great and Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer succeed brilliantly in presenting the power struggles and pecking order in these institutions. R was nominated for four Bodil Awards, winning a Special Award as well as Best Film and Actor, it won the FIPRESCI Prize and Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg Film Festival, and walked away with eigth awards at the Robert Festival, including Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Cinematography. If you like bleak and brutal prison dramas, 

The star, Johan Philip Asbek, looks like a cross between Leonardo Dicaprio and Ray Liotta, and has the charisma and acting chops to carry the film. The film at times needs carrying, because it never leaves the bleak existence of the prison confines, and that naturally wears on the viewer. The other supporting actors were also amazing and had me convinced they had to be ex-convicts to be so believable. And the score is an incredible ambient work that really nails the intensity of the film.