Is Henrik Ruben Genz A Danish Answer To The Coen Brothers?

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor

I have, many times in the past, referred to Danish writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen as the Danish equivalent to the Coen Brothers. He's smart, he's savvy, he's a great writer and he loves to play with genre conventions just enough to keep the audience on their collective toes. I love the guy, I really do, but he's just received a major challenge to that particular throne in the form of Henrik Ruben Genz and his film Terribly Happy, or Frygtelig Lykkelig. The Danish Film Institute's synopsis for this one doesn't even begin to do the trailer justice, but here it is anyway:

Robert has a number of skeletons in his closet, which he is determined to bury. Although hardly his dream job, Robert sees the position of temporary village constable as a necessary stage on the road to rehabilitation. He just needs to do well and generally behave by the book. However, village life and the macabre provincial order don't fit easily into Robert's plans. Nothing is ever straightforward, and certainly not when you are way out in the country.

The camera work in this one is spectacular, making stellar use of lighting and the natural countryside but more impressive is the casting. Fans of Lars von Trier will recognize a few regulars in there, the always strong Kim Bodnia has a key role and Jakob Cedergren looks stellar in the lead. Keep an eye in Cedergren in general, really ... he made his first big splash as the lead of Dagur Kari's Dark Horse and has quietly become one of Denmark's most reliable performers in the years since, choosing a string of very strong roles and excelling in all of them.

The trailer for this is exceptionally strong, check it out in the Twitch Player below the break.

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