Riders of Justice

Otto, Markus, Emmenthaler and Lennart

Anders Thomas Jensen is amazingly prolific. Riders of Justice (Retfærdighedens ryttere in the original Danish) may be only his fifth film as a director in 22 years but in that time he’s also written around 40 feature-length movies. You might have seen Brothers (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman), or the underrated western Salvation (Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffery Dean Morgan) or After the Wedding (Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup). All his directorial efforts to date have starred Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, four of the five have feature Nicolas Bro, fabulous actors all. They’re joined this time by another real talent, Lars Brygmann, for another exercise in the … Read more

Another Round

Martin chugs down a beer

Another Round was a big hit in its native Denmark, managing to coax people into cinemas even as the coronavirus pandemic was shooing them away. Partly because it’s got a big Danish star, Mads Mikkelsen, in the lead, back with director Thomas Vinterberg after their big success The Hunt. And partly because it’s about booze and the Danes are big drinkers, particularly teenage Danes. Vinterberg made the film at the prompting of his daughter Ida, who suggested that a story fuelled by the exploits of hard-partying teens might be both interesting and successful. In the end Vinterberg tweaked that idea a bit, to make the film more about boozing middle-aged guys, and then … Read more

The Salvation

Mads Mikkelsen takes aim in the western The Salvation

Anyone for a Danish western, a great one? Made by one of the Dogme boys? If you look up Dogme in the Wikipedia, it will tell you that this particularly austere style (no music, no lights, no effects) was founded by two Danes, Von Trier and Vinterberg, who were soon joined by two others, Kragh-Jacobsen and Levring. And it’s possible to read this film as an announcement, shout, by the least known of those directors, Kristian Levring, that he doesn’t do that Dogme thing any more. Because The Salvation contains every big movie trick in the book – a lush score, arresting sets, cinematography snatched at the golden hour, melodramatic camera movements, sudden close-ups, … Read more

Casino Royale

Eva Green and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

You only live twice, or so they say. Casino Royale is the old Bond song incarnate. Because we have been here before. Not titularly – though we have, in the 1967 spoof made by a gaggle of writers and directors (John Huston, Billy Wilder, Woody Allen and Joseph Heller among them) who must have been high. Tonally, I mean. After A View to a Kill, Roger Moore’s last Bond and a bad performer at the box office, moves were made to zhuzh up the increasingly tired formula. In came Timothy Dalton, out went the eyebrow, and for a couple of films, which in retrospect, look better and better, there was a return to … Read more

Valhalla Rising

Mads Mikkelsen (centre) in Valhalla Rising

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 25 September The Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066 On this day in 1066, an Anglo Saxon army led by King Harold Godwinson went into battle against a Norwegian army led by Harald Hardrada. The English (ie Anglo Saxon) army numbered about 15,000, the invading army around 9,000. As the numbers suggest, the English won, though at a cost of at least five thousand men (estimates put the losses on the other side at around six thousand, or two thirds of the army). Why does this battle matter? For a start it marks the last time the Anglo Saxons would win anything … Read more