55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic struggle of good and evil in this metaphysical dark comedy -- cross between Kierkegaard and Groucho Marx
Adam, a convicted criminal and skinhead prone to violent rages, is sent to serve out the remainder of his jail sentence in community service at a small town church. The pastor, who refuses to accept -- even in the face of the most plain evidence -- that anyone can possibly be evil, assigns to him a task that seems trivial, until it begins to appear that the very cosmos...
Published on December 3, 2007 by Nathan Andersen
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, violent, not hilarious, depressing but not all bad
I decided that I should write this (somewhat) dissenting opinion because some people may find it useful. To me, and to my husband, this movie is not, by any stretch of the imagination, hilarious or laugh-out-loud funny. I found myself surprised and, yes, amused a few times but it wasn't until the end that I found one moment to be a laugh-out-loud funny surprise. Perhaps...
Published on January 20, 2009 by Seeker
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic struggle of good and evil in this metaphysical dark comedy -- cross between Kierkegaard and Groucho Marx,
Adam, a convicted criminal and skinhead prone to violent rages, is sent to serve out the remainder of his jail sentence in community service at a small town church. The pastor, who refuses to accept -- even in the face of the most plain evidence -- that anyone can possibly be evil, assigns to him a task that seems trivial, until it begins to appear that the very cosmos is conspiring against him. The film explores the classic conflict between faith and reason and between good and evil in the most blunt way imaginable -- by pitting an obstinately naive believer against a stubbornly unrepentant and bitter neo-Nazi -- and completely avoids the pitfalls of predictability.
Adam's Apples manages to be both hilarious and profound, as well as endlessly inventive. Just when you think the stakes can't get any higher, something happens that is utterly unexpected and over the top and in hindsight completely in line with the plot as so far developed. Then the filmmaker ratchets things up a bit more. The mood, alternating between cheerful optimism and deep pessimism, is perfectly sustained by a rich musical score and by the lavish cinematography. This is a finely crafted film.
For those who are familiar with Danish film and especially with the Dogme 95 movement (in which Anders Thomas Jensen was a major contributor), the major actors will be familiar but are playing here gleefully against type. Mads Mikkelsen (yes, the bad guy from Casino Royale) as the pastor; Ulrich Thompson as the overweight convict Nazi, Adam; Parika Steen as a pregnant alcoholic. Every one of the characters is somehow both despicable and extremely likable. This was my favorite film that played at Sundance in 2006, and I have been surprised that it didn't get more widely publicized -- since every audience I saw it with (twice at Sundance and again in Florida) was practically rolling in the aisles and raving afterwards. My sense is that the religious theme, combined with a bit of pretty graphic violence and language, scared critics away and kept it from being widely released. That's a shame since it is a very well-made and very funny movie, that raises intriguing questions anyone with an open mind, whether religious or not, should find important. (in Danish w/ English subtitles)
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Wonderful and Unexpected Find,
Adams Apples is the blackest comedy that I have seen to date. I took a chance on this film not really knowing much about it, expect that is starred Mads Mikkelsen (he is an amazing actor) and that was enough for me.In my opinion he steals the whole movie. This movie is a great find and it really does make you think about good and evil, but in a totally unexpected way.One of the main characters, Ivan, only sees good in everything no matter how screwed up his life is and refuses to see it as anything but perfect becasue God loves him. The other main character,Adam, sees himself as the embodiment of evil and proclaims himself so and sets out to show Ivan that in fact God does not love him and that is why his life is as totally messed up as it is. What follows is the funniest jet black comedy, that keeps on getting blacker and funnier through out some crazy twists and turns. Though do keep in mind this movie is not exactly what we Americans would term politically corret, and that is a very good thing indeed.A movie well worth the subtitles.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe it took so long,
I saw this nearly two years ago with Danish fiends and have been waiting for a local version... somehow it took two years.
In full agreement with the first reviewer who wrote with more detail and with greater and more eloquent length than will be here. But this movie is incredibly well-crafted in the stark extremes that are not only brought up but appear to be openly examined to allow the audience the shock of feeling that they should feel this or that based on the conventions that we often imprison ourselves in.
Tendency to think to self: Offense or shame or I-shouldn't be laughing at this, may come to mind at times, but this movie made me feel like it was a litmus test of my own psychological tendencies towards atrophied groupthink.
These moments or debates don't come up enough here; for being a standard U.S. citizen this movie is in the capacity of Eddie Izzard stand-up or Kurt Vonnegut worlds in permitting a vacation of the mind from the daily preoccupations and recycled comments to the matters brought up and discussed and done permitting the viewer to be part, without embarassment but occasionally with a bit of discomfort, for fun... c'est la vie.
And to my favorite Denmarkperson, Skol!
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, violent, not hilarious, depressing but not all bad,
I decided that I should write this (somewhat) dissenting opinion because some people may find it useful. To me, and to my husband, this movie is not, by any stretch of the imagination, hilarious or laugh-out-loud funny. I found myself surprised and, yes, amused a few times but it wasn't until the end that I found one moment to be a laugh-out-loud funny surprise. Perhaps it was because the surprise was finally a happy one, and that was such a relief after all that depressing violence and darkness. By the way, I switched to speaking only of my reaction because my husband refused to watch anymore after the cat was shot dead; the pastor was beaten, and kicked, and kicked some more; and then the pastor referred to working on a concentration camp as a "mistake". I tried to explain that the last part was due to the pastor being in deep denial and out of touch with reality but my husband had just had enough. I watched the rest of the movie alone because I was curious to see why 9 out of 9 people on Amazon.com had given it 5 stars. The movie kept getting worse but I admit that the ending pleased me.
Another point that I have to also disagree with the majority about, is how profound or thought-provoking the movie is. I did not find it so. I do not believe that salvation lies only in insane denial nor did this movie make me think about good and evil in any profound ways.
I do agree with another reviewer that the characters are both despicable and likable (though not extremely), and that's how I feel about the movie too.
So you can have an understanding of the source of this review it may be helpful to know that I am not at all religious but do care about morality, and generally enjoy insightful irreverence and iconoclastic art and I do not believe that narrow-mindedness is the reason I gave it 3 stars rather than 5.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reconception of Carl Dreyer's "Ordet",
I got the impression from some of the reviews here that this was an extremely quirky, one-off, come-from-nowhere kind of film, but it turns out to be strikingly traditional. It signals this tradition self-consciously by referring (fleetingly) to Kaj Munk, a Danish playwright/pastor murdered at age 45 by the Nazis.
Munk was the author of "Ordet," ("The Word"), a play reworked into film by the Danish film God Carl Dreyer ("Vampyr," "The Passion of Joan of Arc," "The Day of Wrath"--he is covered in virtually all general film histories, and is a presence still in many a film class) in 1955. It may not be its director's most famous film, but once seen it is unforgettable, though it is also in a sense indigestible as well.
"The Word" tells of an extended family in a windswept rural Denmark, three brothers and a father, who, a bit like Dostoevsky's Karamazovs, represent different attitudes toward religious belief. Together with the new pastor (coolly professional), the family doctor (coldly unbelieving), and the town tailor (heatedly sectarian) this household presents a broad range of responses to the challenge of faith, of which the most radical is that of the brother Johannes. He had been at seminary, and like Don Quixote, was driven insane--as the family tells it--by too much reading, not of chivalric romances this time, but of Kierkegaard's philosophy. Kierkegaard was a fideist, claiming that faith owed nothing to rational judgment, but was simply a leap into the unknown.
In his madness, Johannes thought he was Jesus, and out St. Francissed St. Francis himself, in a sense, by preaching not to birds but to wild grass. The climax of the story comes when a death threatens to dissolve the household, and Johannes, who seems finally to have hit bottom after his religious leap into the absolute void, repeats Jesus' most spectacular miracle, and raises the dead (I'm amazed what a risk Dreyer took in attempting such a scene, but he pulled it off: you can't really watch it with a smirk.) This direct experience of raw divinity, a kind of mini-apocalypse (since the apocalypse is the time when every believer imagines himself fully and demonstrably justified in his faith vis-a-vis all non- and other-believers) reduces all of the old personal struggles and interpersonal disagreements over faith to utter meaninglessness.
"Adam's Apples" takes much from "Ordet," though it reworks, modernizes, perhaps, the family at its center, which now consists of various criminals and life-losers at a halfway house run by an apparently mad pastor. Once again, this character is a religious Don Quixote; once again a religious crisis and a death threaten to dissolve altogether the fragile unity of the group; and once again a miracle restores it. This film takes less of risk with the miracle, sort of hides it under a certain jokiness, but the effect is, surprisingly, not all that different.
Even some of us unbelievers can't suppress the suspicion that it is the faith of believers, mad though it seem, that somehow holds things together for all of us.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE!!!,
ADAM'S APPLES is cinematic perfection. This quirky film truly is a "pitch black comedy," yet it manages to be both silly and profound at the same time. It made me laugh out loud more than once, yet it also gave me much to think about long after I'd stopped laughing. This film rewards multiple viewings. The ensemble cast is SUPERB, their performances flawless. The film itself is beautifully structured, expertly crafted. It unfolds like a piece of music, and there is not one false note. Not one.
ADAM'S APPLES is a highly intelligent film which makes playful use of cinematic conventions and creates its own meaning through all sorts of effective juxtapositions. It really is a work of art.
Inventive and original and inspired, ADAM'S APPLES is a masterpiece. I've never seen a better film!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion for Agnostics,
I first saw Adam's Apples on cable and knew I had to buy it as soon as it was available in the American market. Although it has too many f*** words for many of those who claim to be religious, this is as close to a religious experience as I have had for many years. In a way, it's predictable -- vicious Danish skin-head (Adam) is sent to finish his prison sentence doing public service under the tutelage of a rural pastor whose other charges include a former tennis player turned alcoholic and thief, and a terrorist who still goes around holding up service stations. This is very predictable because we know the skin-head is likely to undergo some kind of redemption. The beauty of this black comedy is in the How. The pastor is either the most insane fellow to wear the cloth or the holiest. Totally in denial, the pastor's sufferings -- abuse during childhood, suicided wife, profoundly disabled son and brain tumor -- are fully comparable to Job's. Indeed, when the skin-head finally reads Job -- the copy the pastor has given him keeps falling off the chest and opening to Job -- the result leads to a dramatic confrontation with the parson. Bent on destroying the crazy parson, Adam nearly achieves his goal of killing a man who seems totally out of touch with reality, and at the same time, holy. One dark-humored incident follows another. I found this movie to be a grabber. It stayed with me long after the closing credits. In our secular era, is it possible that salvation lies only in profound denial and near-insanity? This one is a keeper. Viewers who have a shallow theology should keep away from it -- not only because of the coarse language but also because of its dark humor and unusual moraltone.
Main negatives for me -- the translation could have been better.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie.. :),
I don't usually jump on movies with subtitles, but one night while scanning through TV channels, I ended up on the Sundance Channel, and this was on. The five seconds I had it on hooked me and I finished watching it. It was such a great movie, I had to buy it. It's very dark comedy though, and sometimes you find yourself in great disbelief over what you're seeing, and yes, there is violence, but I've watched it a few times now and I really do enjoy it. I don't have anything profound to say about the movie, and I personally didn't find it overly thought provoking, but it was worth the time I took to watch it. My fiance HATES movies with subtitles and it was difficult for me to get him to agree to watch it, but I finally convinced him to try and he loved the movie. If you like dark comedy, try it out. I think you'll be glad you did.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing film,
This review is from: Adams Aebler [Region 2] (DVD)
I saw this at the Cleveland Film Festival in 2006, and it is perhaps one of the most brilliantly original films I've ever seen. It has moments of stunning violence -- I literally had both hands clasped over my mouth at times, and heard shocked gasps from those around me, but also has astonishing humor, unexpected insight and one of the most surprising endings in film. This is why I attend film festivals -- if only all films could be so amazing! It is finally available in a format accessible in the U.S. from Film Movement. See their web site at [...] for details.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apples equal temptations...,
Adam dealt with racial discrimination while the other characters dealt with their own temptations/issues.
Very simple/real movie. The included violence is of the same caliber you find in every day life, unfortunately.
God is God.
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Adams Aebler [Region 2] by Anders Thomas Jensen (DVD)
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