Sunday, July 30, 2006

Adam's Apples (Adams æbler)

The Motley Crew

The premise of this movie seemed simple enough, about Neo Nazi called Adam (Ulrich Thomsen) being sentenced to community service at a church. A priest, Ivan (Mads Mikkelsen), informs Adam that in order to complete his hours of service, he must have a goal in mind. And that goal actually turned out unexpectedly, as a passing remark, to be as banal as baking an apple pie, with apples found in the apple tree grown on the church's premises.

Written and directed by Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen, Adam's Apples is a black comedy about God and the mysterious ways in which He works. Sometimes He does things in an indirect manner, in order for you to explore and find out exactly what He wants you to do. Or He might intent to pose some challenges in order to shake you up, or have a sublime message in which you are to learn from.

Adam didn't have it easy, as in his opinion, it is as if God was punishing him by making things extremely difficult. Weird stuff kept happening with nary a warning, like having crows infest the tree and eating away at the apples, or by having worms invade from within. All these clue Adam that perhaps he wasn't meant to finish serving his time as soon as possible, but rather has to find meaning in the extended period of time of him being at the church.

The story actually got more interesting when the audience is introduced to the host of quirky characters who seek refuge at the grounds, such as Khalid (Ali Kazim) the Pakistani with a thing for robbing petrol kiosks, and Gunnar (Nicolas Bro), the fat kleptomaniac. And the plot actually allowed more to ponder upon, with the Bible playing a key plot device with its reference to the Book of Job - is there a modern biblical reference to Ivan, or is he living one himself?

But no worries about this portion of the plot getting too stifling for comfort. While it actually had a really dead serious mood throughout, there is plenty of comedy delivered, which came at times, fast and furious, but yet still maintained that deadpan feel, as if these comedic situations happened as "a matter of fact"-ly. Certain (violent) scenes stood out and made you think about how those shots were actually achieved.

Watching the movie actually made me wonder about the existence of an omnipotent being, and actually had this uncanny feel good factor about it at the end. If you're up for some unconventional fare, then this nominee for this year's Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film might just be your cup of tea.

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