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22 June 2013 @ 02:55 pm
The Other Side of Mads Mikkelsen  
Over here in the US, Mads Mikkelsen is probably best known for playing villains. He was Le Chiffre in Casino Royale who had the dubious role of hitting James Bond where it hurts most. And recently he's been playing Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal where arguably cannibalism isn't even the worst thing he's been up to. But as show runner Bryan Fuller put it, Mikkelsen is actually like the George Clooney of Denmark. He's probably played more benign people than he has evil ones. Below are three films of his I've seen where he gets to be a completely normal (and sometimes even kind) person. Believably so!

The Hunt (Jagten)
Mikkelsen portrays a divorced schoolteacher named Lucas, who lives in a small town. His uneventful life takes a dramatic turn when a little girl, without fully understanding the impact of her words, accuses him of exposing himself in front of her. It's not a spoiler to say that Lucas is completely innocent. The film very early on shows you why the girl makes this claim and it is by no means Lucas' fault. But you can imagine the mob mentality that settles in and the hell Lucas' life descends into. The film is not easy to watch as you spend two tense hours watching as the town turns on Lucas bit by bit as he maintains his innocence. Mikkelsen won Best Actor at Cannes for his portrayal and let me tell you, there's a very, VERY good reason. His acting is superb and is worth viewing the film for, even if the movie itself is really very difficult to sit through. I felt like I was having a slow burn panic attack during most of it.

After the Wedding (Efter Brylluppet)
Apparently Mikkelsen has a talent for working with children in a very paternal, non-creepy way. Who would have thought! In this one he plays Jacob, the manager of an orphanage in India. Despite his best efforts and his heart being dedicated to his charges, it's clear the orphanage is about to become bankrupt. A Danish company offers up a mysterious donation that could save the place in exchange for Jacob returning to Denmark to retrieve the funds himself. While there, it turns out the donation has a specific connection to events in his past. I'm not going to spoil too much of the plot. Sufficed to say that MIkkelsen excels at playing a man conflicted with the love he holds for the children back in India, particularly one boy, and the love he yearns for and from the people he meets upon his return to Denmark. I liked that the film doesn't offer any easy conclusions and Jacob's story doesn't allow a man whose entire life has been about being selfless, just ignore his chance and desire to be selfish for once. While not exactly a Feel Good movie, it's certainly easier to watch than "The Hunt."

The Door (Die Tur)
I've actually already reviewed this film once but that's how good it is. Unlike the other two films which were Danish, this is a German film with everyone speaking in German. Why they chose Mikkelsen as the lead is a bit unknown to me, not that I'm complaining. He's excellent as David, a man desperate to change his past in order to save the family he lost out of his own selfishness. One night he gets that chance when he discovers a mysterious door that leads him to the past. While a film that uses time-travel, the story itself is more concerned with the question of can we ever really rewrite the past and can certain actions ever be forgiven.
quickyfant: Hannibalquickyfant on June 22nd, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
Maybe spoilers for The Hunt:

I watched The Hunt, and while I really appreciated Mads Mikkelsens acting there was a scene that ruined the whole movie for me. I have a real squick with certain things, and some of the reasons Hannibal the show is safe for me is the fact that Bryan Fuller told us all the dogs are safe. I know its not really a valid point with which you judge a movie or a show, and with so much violence in every media I shouldnt be so sensitive, but yeah The Hunt makes me just sad.

I really want to be able to watch The Door, I hope I manage to get it. Does Mads Mikkelsen talk German or is he dubbed?
formerly lifeinsomniac: HannibalWilljoonscribble on June 22nd, 2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, THAT scene in the Hunt. I think whatever squick I feel toward such violence got overshadowed by my oversensitivity to mob mentality. I've never dealt well with this mentality. When I was a kid, I saw a Twilight Zone episode that showed how quickly people turn on each other and it gave me nightmares for days.

Does Mads Mikkelsen talk German or is he dubbed?

On the German DVD of this film, there are two audio tracks. One has Mikkelsen speaking German, the other is with him dubbed. I could only get a copy with the dubbed version. The German actor they selected to dub has a voice that's a close approximation to Mikkelsen but you can still tell it's not him.

Edited at 2013-06-22 08:18 pm (UTC)
quickyfant: Hannibalquickyfant on June 22nd, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yes the mobing is terrible, but the other thing is just :(. I started watching The Following, but stopped for the same reasons (and I think that was a good thing, since I think that show is too much violence just for the sake of violence). Also Game of Thrones wasnt watchable for the same reason. :S

Ahhhhh I would love to watch that movie with him talking German, I would love to know how he talks it. Why would he have been dubbed if he already was talking German in a German movie?