After the Wedding Susanne Bier

After the Wedding Susanne Bier
It’s ironic that Susanne Bier got her foot in the international door through the ministrations of Dogme 95, as her subsequent work has none of the rigour that such a movement supposedly represents. The most recent of these is After the Wedding, and for all of its stabs at relevance and Renoir-ian kindness it’s little more than a soap opera with fancy trappings.

Mats Mikkelson (the villain from Casino Royale) leads the pack as Jacob, an aid worker based in India; he’s called back to Denmark to field a charity offer from Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard), a man who is as wealthy as he is crude. Jacob is puzzled when he’s dragged to the wedding of the rich boor’s daughter, until he discovers that a) his host’s wife (Sidse Babbet Knudson) is an old flame and b) that the couple’s daughter is in fact, his own. This brings about some of the creakiest support group sentiments ever recorded on film, all "how could you have lied to me?” and "money isn’t everything” and blah, blah, blah.

The film is resolute in its determination to be conventional and uninteresting, sealing the deal with a casual dismissal of the third-world hell that the star is supposed to be helping. Once again we find that just because you’re impoverished doesn’t mean you have priority over affluent Danes. By the one-hour point, I had had enough, but the film just kept going and going — obviousness rules in Bier’s universe and it robs her would-be tearjerker of any real emotion.

Though the cast is credible throughout (especially Lassgard, who nails his hubristic greed head role), the material they’re working with is crushingly dull and by the end, I was climbing the walls. (Seville)