Tuesday, May 3, 2011

'Troubled Water' Review

Before I begin, make sure if you search for this movie, you look for Troubled Water (deUSYNLIGE) and NOT Troubled Waters. Troubled Waters is about an FBI agent that is hired to track down some missing child and then has to unravel the mystery of what really happened to the little girl...or something. I gathered all that from the five line synopsis and knew that was not a movie I was interested in.

Now on to the interesting movie. Troubled Water (for once a faithful translation of a foreign movie title) is about a young man named Thomas, convicted of killing a four year old boy, who gets out of prison and gets a job working at a church as the organ player. While working at the church he meets Anna, one of the priests at the church and starts a relationship with her. The problem is that she has a child who looks much like the boy he was accused of killing so he feels a lot of apprehension about being around him. At the same time he is trying to continue with his life, the mother of the child he allegedly murdered sees him in the church playing the organ during a field trip with her class. She then proceeds to follow him around and in essence stalk him. According to her husband, all they want is for him to admit that he killed the boy and to say what happened to the child, but Thomas sticks to his original story that it was an accident and he had nothing to do with the death.

The brilliance of this movie is that it is a simple character study about the lives of two people connected through a common event and how they attempt to live their lives, or not live their lives depending on how you look at it. The structure is also very uncommon and honestly, quite refreshing. The first section is about both characters and the even that took place. Then the film moves for the next 45 minutes to an hour is about Thomas and his experiences. The final portion covers what happened with the mother of the dead child culminating with a confrontation and an ending that is different than what American audiences are used to.

The film is brilliantly shot with gorgeous shallow depth of field and wonderful rack-focus shots. The lighting and coloring are lovely and the acting is top-notch. Pål Sverre Valheim Hagan is wonderful as Jan Thomas and really shows this vulnerable, hurt, scared, afraid nature of the character. The soundtrack really plays well with the whole feel of the movie and the theme of forgiveness and closure is felt through the whole movie right until the very end.

There is just something about these Scandinavian movies that really grabs my attention and this one is no different. I would have to say this movie was one of my favorites of all time. There are so many little nuances that I missed the first time through and after watching a couple scenes online again I can see things I missed. I highly recommend the movie to anyone looking for a wonderful character film that pulls at your heartstrings without being obvious and Oprah-Book-of-the-Week-like.

Here are a couple of scenes and the trailer. I can't promise there won't be spoilers, so beware.

Trailer (no English)

Trailer (English)

This wonderful extended International trailer has a split screen of the film and does include spoilers...so be warned: SPOILERS! Although if you don't understand Norwegian you won't know what's being said exactly.

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