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Vikaren

Vikaren (2007) Movie Poster
  •  Denmark  •    •  93m  •    •  Directed by: Ole Bornedal.  •  Starring: Paprika Steen, Ulrich Thomsen, Jonas Wandschneider, Nikolaj Falkenberg-Klok, Emma Juel Justesen, Mollie Maria Gilmartin, Josephine Gents, Emma Claudia Søndergaard, Jakob Fals Nygaard, Andreas Gram Nielsen, Mathias Peter Kjær, Sonja Richter, Peter Hesse Overgaard.  •  Music by: Marco Beltrami.
       When an alien comes from another planet to learn the meaning of love on Earth, it possesses the body of Ulla Harms, who is the wife of an owner of a poultry farm in Denmark. Meanwhile, the boy Carl grieves the loss of his mother, who died in a car crash, and is outcast in his school. His father Jesper Osböll wrote a bestseller about the power of love and also grieves the loss of his beloved wife. When the teacher of Carl has a health problem with salmonella, Ulla is assigned as the substitute teacher for his class. Sooner Carl and his friends discovers that Ulla is a monster from outer space, but their parents do not trust them and believe the children are fantasizing.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:14
 
 
 1:39
 
 
 2:13
 

Review:

Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
Image from: Vikaren (2007)
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I knew it was something I had to watch. I can't remember any Danish sci-fi movies off the top of my head, and I knew that a director like Bornedal would never just tack on such a genre for no reason. It also seemed wonderfully crazy, and Danish black humour does work very well on film. When you actually go see the film, you realise that the fantastic elements of the story are only cosmetic, and that the film isn't about aliens with strange powers, but rather about what our society is changing into.

The film's acting is spot on; the kids have been cast very well, their characters seeming genuine. The main character, Carl, is particularly well portrayed, and his emotions all seem perfectly sincere and authentic. You can't put a finger on the acting of any of the supporting roles either; Ulrich Thomsen does a very effective father, and Ulf Pilgaard seems delightfully mechanical in his portrayal of the "education minister". But in the end, with all due respect to all the other actors, Paprika Steen really outshines everyone else. She is frighteningly effective in her role as Ulla Harms, the Substitute. Constantly condescending towards the students in an effort to turn them into the best children possible, so they can compete in Paris with other students from various parts of Europe, Ulla Harms is a fantastic villain. The way she doesn't show any remorse at all towards the students she insults, the way she'll stop at nothing in her quest to discover what love is (which she, of course, tries to do in totally psychopathic manner).

One of the few flaws the movie has is that it doesn't really flesh out certain characters who, while not actually very important to the plot, still get a lot of screen time and thus should be made more clear than they were. This makes some of the characters seem a bit shallow. The important characters are dealt with as they should, though, so it's not a very big problem.

Another thing I can complain about is the ending. The final scene starts out very calmly, with a bit of narration from what I think is Ole Bornedal himself, and then suddenly explodes into a loud and very energetic series of credits. It didn't really fit in, and it seemed fairly pointless.

All in all, the Substitute is a very entertaining movie; part social commentary, part black comedy, part horror. With stunning performances by virtually all the actors and a very effective script, the Substitute delivered everything I thought it would and much, much more. I can recommend it to all fans of Danish film-making.


Review by demonictaco from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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Jun 18 2017, 16:16
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