A Place Nearby

Third degree. Mother (Norby) looks on as Detective Jespersen (Helmuth) has a word with Brian (Lindhardt)...
Her i nærheden
dir-scr Kaspar Rostrup
with Ghita Norby, Thure Lindhardt, Frits Helmuth, Henning Moritzen, Magnus Stahl Jacobsen, Bodil Lindorff, Hannah Bjarnhof, Sarah Boberg, Thomas Bo Larsen, Pia Vieth, Niels Anders Thorn Niels Weyde
00/Denmark 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
With a startlingly real tone, Rostrup examines the dark edges of love from an offbeat perspective ... and an even more offbeat storyline. It's a powerful, moving film, and it features two of the year's best performances.

Mrs Nielsen (Norby) is fiercely protective of her 20-year-old autistic son Brian (Lindhardt), a beautiful naive blond who loves and needs his mother. But when a young woman is murdered in a nearby park, Mother is afraid her son may have done it. And she battles with herself as she fights to save him from a probing detective (Helmuth). But is there a point where her love means she must give him up?

With fascinating lighting, intelligent direction and a raw screenplay, Rostrup's film is remarkable in almost every way. Lindhardt gives Brian an earthy reality rarely seen when actors take on autism. He never hogs the screen or demonstrates any Serious Acting--it's a subtle, eerily believable performance. And Norby is astonishing as his mother--thoughtful, transparent, finely detailed (she's very reminiscent of Judi Dench). As she tries to protect the one person close to her, she is confronted with the truth and terrified by its possibilities. And as the film circles around her, its consistently tense feel grabs us tightly with both the story's central mystery and whether these two absorbing characters can set each other free.

[themes, language, brief violence] 31.Oct.00
Denmark release 21.Jan.00; London Film Fest Nov.00

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© 2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall