HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

January 28, 2008
From the Video Shop

Adams Æbler
English Title: Adam's Apples

Neil Turner
2005 - Denmark - 94 minutes
Director and Writer - Anders Thomas Jensen
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.9/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars


There was a recent report that stated that Denmark is the happiest country in the world. We all know that a good sense of humor leads to a happier life, and, based upon Adam's Apples and other films I have seen from Denmark, the Danes surely lead the way in exhibiting a sardonic, biting humor that is often very dark but not the least bit destructive.

This little film draws much of its inspiration from the Book of Job and places it in a modern context with a witty touch of dark, dark humor. Adam is a neo-Nazi who has been released from prison to enter a work program run by Ivan, a country minister. Ivan is exasperatingly optimistic and doesn't seem to be able to acknowledge any real evil in the world. Adam - the personification of hate and evil - seeks to destroy Ivan in any way he can.

Adam is added to a motley crew being sheltered - and supposedly reformed - by Ivan. Gunnar is a gluttonous thief who surely is not on the path to reform as he just sits around all day eating whenever he is not stealing from someone at the rectory. Khalid is a Pakistani radical who sees himself as a modern-day Robin Hood who hates Denmark and all Danes and wishes to get out of the country. Sarah is a confused and desperate pregnant girl.

The men supposedly have duties at the rectory and church which will help them reform and follow productive paths. Adam is given the job of caring for the pride of the garden - an apple tree. Needless-to-say, Adam totally shirks his responsibility because he has developed a manic desire to destroy Ivan.

Another wry character in this tongue-in-cheek delight of a film is Dr. Kolberg who supposedly takes care of Ivan's health issues. It is disclosed fairly early in the film that Ivan has a brain tumor and has little time to live. Dr. Kolberg is definitely not your gentle, loving family doctor. This character is great fun.

Adam is played to perfection by Ulrich Thomsen in a beautifully understated fashion. Mads Mikkelsen as Ivan has the looks that fulfilled the idea of a Danish minister and an off-the-cuff manner in his portrayal that is absorbing.

Even with its dark comic nature, Adam's Apples is also a fascinating drama and an enlightening look at good, evil, and the power of faith.


See all of my reviews at - http://neilturner.net/reviews/contents.html


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