Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Morke is an ineffectual thriller, a film of closed doors and equally closed minds, dressed up in a package of slick emptiness. It boasts a script so monumentally ill-structured, full of hackneyed and implausible events. Style over content, it ain't.

Jacob (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) cannot sleep. He suffers from recurring dreams about his handicapped sister Julie's (Lotte Bergstrøm) attempted drowning some time ago. The family comes to visit and he learns that she is about to marry Anker (Nicolas Bro), a man she recently met on the Internet. Anker swears love and devotion, while on Julie's wedding night she successfully takes her own life. Anker appears inconsolable.

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Several months later, Jacob goes through Julie's personal effects and finds a clue that Anker may not be all he appears to be. Using his journalistic contacts, he tracks him down to Mørke, a little village - like Royston Vasey, You'll Never Leave - and discovers that he is engaged to another disabled woman, with the wedding in a few days.

Is Anker a serial killer? A psychopath? Is Jacob going mad with guilt about his sister? Or is the film just content to jerk its audience around? (It does that anyway, no matter what the outcome)

This is co-writer/director Jannik Johansen's first feature. His efforts, while competent technically - it all looks rather nice, if gloom-ladened crisp blue overcast days are your thing - lack any dramatic cohesion and structure. He borrows liberally from Hitchcock, without the Master's wit, or pleasure. The all-too-frequent cheap shocks grate the nerves.

There is so much lard hanging off the narrative, so many detours into meandering monologues and lonesome stares into blandly beautiful nothingness, which are not fit to grease the wheels of the genre. A good 25 minutes could have been trimmed off the length without anyone noticing.

I left wanting to hug someone. What a depressing and unlikable movie!

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2005
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Danish mystery about serial suicides.
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Director: Jannik Johansen

Writer: Jannik Johansen, Anders Thomas Jensen

Starring: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Nicolas Bro, Laerke Winther Andersen, Lotte Bergstrom, Laura Drasbaek, Anne Sophie Byder

Year: 2005

Runtime: 124 minutes

Country: Denmark


EIFF 2005

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