ADAM'S APPLES: DVD
Sentenced to community service at a small, country church in Denmark, Adam (Ulrich Thomsen), a middleaged neo-nazi, is warmly welcomed by the cheerful vicar Ivan (Mads Mikklesen). Although Adam is crude, full of hostility and clearly beyond redemption, Ivan encourages him to choose a goal that will occupy his time there. When Adam dismissively replies that he will bake an apple pie, Ivan assigns him the task of nurturing the church's lone apple tree. But Adam's task just gets harder and harder and his view of life begins to change.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Adam's Apples was the official Danish entry in the 2005 Best Foreign Language Film category of the Oscars and winner of 14 different awards. It comes from the gifted Anders Thomas Jensen, who excels in black comedy; he tells the story of skinhead Adam, a neo Nazi troublemaker who is sentenced to community service at a rural church, which is run by the ... er, let's say unconventional parish priest, Ivan.
When Ivan asks Adam to set himself a task during his stay, Adam churlishly suggests he make a cake using the apples on the wonderful, bountiful tree in front of the church. Jensen's sometimes subtle but always inspired black and wildly humorous script, his ability to thrust eccentricity into otherwise average characters and his storytelling skills are at their best here. He builds a scenario filled with tragedy and drama into an uplifting and unconventional redemption tale that never laughs at its serious subjects but uses them to underline the absurdity of the human condition. The garden of Eden this aint.
Wonderful performances from Ulrich Thomsen as the neo-Nazi who doesn't realize what he is getting himself into when he tries to take on the priest and his faith, and from Mads Mikkelsen as Ivan, who is either mad or a saint or both. But Jensen adroitly avoids making a fool of Ivan or a caricature of Adam, and he twists and turns the story to keep us engaged. When it comes to God, he teases playfully and when it comes to human weakness, he is honest but understanding.
Providing terrific support are Nicolas Bro as Gunnar and Ali Kazim as Khalid, two more of Ivan's guests doing penance, and the wonderful Paprika Steen as Sarah, the mistakenly pregnant woman who comes for advice and gets much more.
The film's mood shifts from black comedy to genuine drama as it unravels and takes us on a satisfying journey that is marked by a terrific script and assured, controlled direction.
Published June 26, 2008
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ADAM'S APPLES: DVD (M)
CAST: Ulrich Thomsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Nicolas Bro, Paprika Steen, Ali Kazim, Ole Thestrup, Nikolai Lie Kaas
PRODUCER: Mie Andreasen, Tivi Magnusson
DIRECTOR: Anders Thomas Jensen
SCRIPT: Anders Thomas Jensen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sebastian Blenkov
EDITOR: Anders Villadsen
MUSIC: Jepe Kaas
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mia Stensgaard
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: .
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Shock/Rialto
DVD RELEASE: June 14, 2008