After The Wedding Susanne Bier

After The Wedding Susanne Bier
Denmark’s Susanne Bier surpasses her acclaimed 2004 drama Brothers with After The Wedding. In each film a troubled outsider replaces an established husband as both the head of a household and the love interest to the mother/wife. In After The Wedding, Jacob Petersen (Mads Mikkelsen, the heavy in Casino Royale) escapes drug addiction in his native Denmark to aid street children in India. When the orphanage runs out of money, Jacob returns to Denmark to plead his case to wealthy businessman Jørgen (Rolf Lassgård). Before he decides, the free-spirited Jorgen invites Jacob to attend his stepdaughter’s wedding. By pure coincide, Jacob is shocked to discover that Jorgen’s stepdaughter is his blood daughter — a daughter he never knew he had — whose mother (Sidese Knudson) was once Jacob’s lover. For reasons I can’t disclose (to prevent spoiling the ending), Jorgen encourages Jacob to stay in Denmark by offering to start a four million dollar charitable foundation with his stepdaughter, as long as Jacob stays in the country. Will Jacob accept this offer and save the orphanage or will he return to India empty-handed? Taut performances drive this drama and make believable the rather incredible coincidence of Jacob meeting his blood daughter at a stranger’s wedding. Lassgård outshines his co-stars as the generous patriarch and benefactor. In fact, Lassgård is so prominent in the film’s third act that he throws the movie off balance by shifting the focus away from Jacob and his story of redemption and acceptance. That said, After The Wedding resolves itself better than Brothers and its 120 minutes never sag. Unfortunately the DVD is typical of foreign film releases in North America, featuring no extras. I wish DVD distributors would give home audiences the benefit of the doubt and add extras to foreign discs. (Seville)