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Carefree life-drifter Daniel (Jakob Cedergren) is a graffiti artist-for-hire who paints declarations of love for paying punters all over the city walls of Copenhagen. His best mate Roger (Nicolas Bro), who also goes by the affectionate term of Grandpa, is a sleep technician in a clinic who dreams of becoming a world-class soccer referee. The two friends are as thick as thieves, but when they fall for the same woman, bakery assistant Franc (Tilly Scott Pedersen), and she begins an affair with Daniel, their relationship is tested forcing them to grow up or possibly grow apart.

Review by Craig Miller:
After his triumphant debut with the Noi the Albino, it's positive career news indeed that Danish filmmaker Dagur Kari should come back just as strongly with his follow-up film the touching, offbeat romantic comedy Dark Horse.

While it is not a massive departure from Noi, both focus on characters that are considered immature and eccentric and on the brink of so-called "normalcy", Dark Horse is, ironically, a mature piece from Kari and an intelligent observation of the drama and humour that is found in life.

The action and characters are naturalistic and grounded, but it doesn't stop Kari from showing a playful side to these deviants, especially when it comes to their sense of humour and what they consider meaningful and strange about life.

Shot in black and white with a singular "awakening" scene of colour, Manuel Alberto Claro's cinematography is bold and striking and the look of the film is as much a character in the story as anyone else.

There are elements to Kari's work that are not dissimilar in style and nature to the early work of maverick US filmmaker Jim Jaramusch, which gives it a real sense of quirky familiarity and understated class. Like Jarmusch, Kari is able to visualise and reveal internal character processes and, while it's not a unique filmmaking technique by any standards, these two manage it with some skill.

Much of the beauty of Dark Horse lies in its characters, which are understated and unique, with Kari giving great credence to his loveable loser triangle. The lives these three lead are revealed perfectly through their quirky nature and actions and the actors' own superb craft.

By traditional standards, this fanciful romantic comedy would be genre defined as an "arthouse" or "foreign" film, but for general audiences these descriptions do little to attract viewers. The last thing you'd want to do is limit the audience for this classy work, as that would be in itself a crying shame.

Published February 2, 2006

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(Denmark, 2005)

Voksne Mennesker

CAST: Jakob Cedergren, Nicolas Bro, Tilly Scott Pederson, Morten Suurballe, Mikael Bertelsen

DIRECTOR: Dagur Kari

SCRIPT: Dagur Kari & Rune Schjott

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 1.85:1, Dolby Digital 2.0


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Force Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 12, 2005

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