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Just Another Love Story 

Wednesday, Feb 18 2009

Adultery remains hazardous to your health in "psychological thrillers," even in Scandinavia, and even when your affair begins as a magnificent obsession. Schlumpy Jonas (Anders Bertelsen) stops short while driving and sends distraught stranger Julia (Rebecka Hemse) into a blinding, coma-inducing, memory-banishing crash. On an anonymous visit to the hospital, he's mistaken by her rich family for her sight-unseen boyfriend, Sebastian, acquired during backpacker slumming in Cambodia. Jonas clears up the misunderstanding, leaves a tasteful selection of flowers, and returns to his middle-class wife and kids — sorry, I've misread my notes. Make that: Julia awakens and romance blooms, while flashbacks to bungalow gunplay back East portend the return of the real, bad-news Sebastian (Euro-skeezy Nikolaj Lie Kaas). There's a good, painful moment of oblivious humiliation when Jonas quits his wife in a superstore, but Bertelsen's puffy sheepishness isn't involving enough to distract from the routine plot perforations. The wide-screen images mainly give room for the camera either to loom irritatingly or convey an absolving daze for Jonas, while comfortably intense photography and bookending voiceover purport to comment on the shortfall between life and noir fantasy. Danish director Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch) continues a career of laying the groundwork for remakes that will be middling in more familiar, English-language ways.

About The Author

Nicolas Rapold


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