Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"A slight narrative leaves room for a lot of emotional work in this muscular short."

Outsiders often associate sporting prowess with freedom and independence, but there are so many costs associated with competition - especially in a sport like motor racing - that it's practically impossible to be independent as a young person with serious talent. Kasper (Sylvester Byder) doesn't really care about racing all that much anymore, and is sick of everything in his life being structured around it. He wants to focus on exams and on building a relationship with Veronika (Clara Rosager), the girl he likes. Most of all, he wants to be free of his father.

Sport, at the top level, always involves pressure. Training always requires a willingness to submit to discipline, at least until one learns to discipline oneself. It's clear, however, that in this situation something else is going on. Kaspar has been trained to be able to hyperfocus, a skill essential for manoeuvring safely at high speeds, nut he's distracted. He has sudden, intrusive thoughts, possible flashbacks, captured in transient images. Externally, he exhibits little tics, movements that happen too fast or too soon in response to what's happening around him. This level of alertness betrays a different kind of conditioning.

As Kaspar's budding new relationship and the pressure of another big race combine to give him the impetus to stand up to his father, Anders Walter's direction takes us back to youth, to a time of dependency and limited perspective, to remind us just how hard that can be. Jacob Lohmann is on good form as the domestic tyrant, able to snap between pragmatism and fury with the ease typical of long term alcoholics. Though we see no violence in the present, the way he carries his upper body, the way he leans in towards his son carry the promise of it. Kasper is young, strong and healthy but conditioned to fear. His time behind the wheel is the only time when he has control.

A slight narrative leaves room for a lot of emotional work in this muscular short, which is every bit as handsomely shot as you'd expect of Oscar winner Walter. The pale, open sky contrasts with the cramped interior of the car. Veronika can only look on from behind a wire fence. The track is open and clear, but only as long as one does everything one is supposed to in precise order, following the prescribed route.

Victims don't always look the way we might expect. Victory, too, can take different forms.

Reviewed on: 14 Jan 2021
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A talented young race car driver struggles to cope with his father's behaviour.

Director: Anders Walter

Writer: Anders Walter

Starring: Sylvester Byder, Jacob Lohmann, Clara Rosager

Year: 2020

Runtime: 20 minutes

Country: Denmark


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