Smilla's Sense of Snow (DVD)
This is a wonderful adaptation to film of one of the greatest Scandinavian novels ever, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, by Danish author Peter Hoeg.
Smilla, brought to Copenhagen against her will after her Inuit mother's death, is a loner, a rebel against society, hiding her fears and loneliness under a thick coat of armor. She seeks refuge in science - her definition of longing is mathematics’ negative numbers, the "formalization of the feeling that you're missing something."
Snow is Smilla Jaspersen's specialty; it's what she studies and what she knows better than anybody and anything. So when her only friend, an Inuit boy living in the same Copenhagen apartment complex as her, is found dead on the pavement in front of their house, she knows something must be amiss. He can't have fallen off the roof, as the police quickly conclude: afraid of heights, he would not have climbed to the roof if not driven there in the first place, and he certainly wouldn't have run to the edge ... as his footsteps in the otherwise untouched snow cover on the roof, however, indicate.
Based on a much-praised 1992 bestseller by Peter Hoeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow is a film of moody power and boundless mystery in its first half, and becomes a conspiracy-laden schlock thriller in its second.
Julia Ormond stars as the half-Inuit, Greenland native of Hoeg's book, and is fascinating, somehow more beautiful than usual through her emphasis of her character's destabilizing conflicts. Her performance in this movie is very strong. Somewhat aided by an ambiguous neighbor (Gabriel Byrne), Smilla investigates a connection between the child's death and the misdeeds of a mining company.
Atmospherically, the movie wonderfully projects Smilla's loneliness in the sad, gray skies and wet snow of wintry Copenhagen, as opposed to the crisp blue skies, white ice fields and limitless horizons of Greenland.
The DVD edition of Smilla's Sense of Snow includes an original theatrical trailer and a short feature on the making of the production.
- Actors: Ona Fletcher, Julia Ormond, Agga Olsen, Patrick Field, Matthew Marsh
- Directors: Bille August
- Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
- Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Rating: R (Restricted)
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
- Run Time: 121 minutes
Adam's Apples (DVD)Adam's Apples Ivan (excellently played by Mads Mikkelsen) is an insanely optimistic and perhaps somewhat naive preacher. He tries, to the best of his abilities, to help reform convicts, and brings them in to help around the remote, rural church where he is minister.
His current charges are a psychotic Saudi immigrant addicted to robbing gas stations because he hates international corporations and an alcoholic tennis pro convicted of sexual assault. His newest "helper" is Adam, a vicious neo-Nazi anxiously biding his time before he can return to hell-raising. Asked to set a goal for his stay, Adam sarcastically answers that he'd like to bake a cake. Ivan cheerfully takes that statement at face value and puts him in charge of the parish's pride and joy: the only apple tree in the vicinity.
Grasping the extent of Ivan's crazed, preternatural determination to look on the bright side of everything - Adam immediately decides to shake him out of his rose-colored stupor. The film explores the classic conflict between faith and reason and between good and evil in the most blunt way imaginable -- by pitting an obstinately naive believer against a stubbornly unrepentant and bitter neo-Nazi -- and completely avoids the pitfalls of predictability.
In addition to the outstanding performance by Mads Mikkelsen, Ulrich Thompson (the neo-Nazi) and Parika Steen as a pregnant alcoholic are great as well. It is a great and quite fascinating movie. It is somewhere in the landscape between hilarious and profound. It is also smart and quite inventive. And just as you think the stakes can't get any higher, that this is where it all somehow stops, something happens that is utterly unexpected and over the top, yet in hindsight completely in line with the plot as so far developed. The mood alternates between cheerful optimism and deep pessimism, and is perfectly sustained by an excellent musical score and the first-rate, lavish cinematography. This is a pearl - a very well crafted movie!
Product Details (US version)
- Actors: Paprika Steen, Nikolaj Kaas, Mads Mikkelsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Nicolas Bro
- Directors: Anders Thomas Jensen
- Format: Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC, Subtitled
- Language: Danish
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Rated: Unrated
- Studio: Film Movement
- DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
- Run Time: 94 minutes