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Troubled Water (2008)

Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen - Jan Thomas , Trine Dyrholm - Agnes , Erik Poppe  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen - Jan Thomas, Trine Dyrholm - Agnes, Ellen Dorrit Petersen - Anna, Trond Espen Seim - Jon
  • Directors: Erik Poppe
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Norwegian, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002RZARX6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,771 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Troubled Water" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jan, recently released from prison after serving time for the murder of a child, has always maintained his innocence and is ready to put the past behind him. A gifted organist, he takes a job at an Oslo church under his middle name, Thomas. His talent and gentle manner quickly earn him the respect of his superiors, as well as the love of the pastor, Anna. Thomas even overcomes his initial panic to return the affection of Annas young son, Jens. But his past catches up with him when Agnes, a local teacher, comes to the church on a school visit and recognizes the organist as Jan, the young man who was convicted for the murder of her son.


A powerful gem... Its absolutely the best movie Ive ever seen! --Michael Moore, Academy Award® Winning Director

Everything with this film is perfect! [The performances] are fantastic and the direction is without fault. --Alec Baldwin, Academy Award® Nominated Actor

Brilliantly Conceived, Magisterially Orchestrated! --Ronnie Scheib, Variety

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Movie June 5, 2010
I don't really like movies and I don't watch them a lot. And after seeing Troubled Water I know why. The simple reason is that very few movies are as good as this one. This is definitely not one of those sad Hollywood monstrosities that aim to prevent you from having a single thought by any means possible. This film does not attempt to benumb the spectators by an endless assault of noises, colors, flashes, explosions, colorful images, etc. It actually leaves the viewers some space to think, analyze, and simply to exist. Troubled Water does not attempt to rob me of my humanity and my human agency, unlike the stupid Hollywood productions.

This is the kind of film that works through powerful acting and great directing. There are no cheap thrills in Troubled Water. No special effects, no monsters or vampires, no explosions, 3D effects, unrealistic car chases, etc. There is just life, human existence, normal people trying to figure out important stuff.

Instead of silicone-inflated cyborg-like individuals who pass for actors in Hollywood, this film has actors who actually look like real, normal people. We are so used to the assembly-line faces and bodies of Hollywood characters, that the actors in Troubled Water look refreshingly attractive. As attractive as only real human beings can be. And these actors even know how to act.

I'm not going to retell the plot of the movie here. Because great art is not about the plot. The story is never as important as the artistic means employed to transmit it. I will only say that Troubled Water is a film that makes you want to come back to it over and over.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Troubled indeed. February 7, 2010
(special thanks to Film Movement for providing me a screener!)

Troubled Water is a masterpiece of sad, vaguely depressing, film making where in the end there's no real uplifting message and not a lot of resolution and very few answers. Will it surprise you if I tell you it's a Scandinavian movie?

The movie tells the tale of Jan Thomas Hansen, recently released from prison after being convicted of the murder of a young boy. He's always maintained his innocence and blamed a cohort, of whom we see basically nothing.

Out of prison he gets a job working as an organist at a church. He's quite good and starts a shy, tentative relationship with Anna, the church priest. He also becomes quite fond of her young son, Jens and starts spending time around him...

Meanwhile, Agnes, the mother of the murdered boy, has a parallel story where we see her and her husband and two adopted daughters getting ready to move to Denmark. She's on what appears to be a school field trip to a church and while there notices a suspiciously familiar organist.

Soon all her memories of the events surrounding the death of her child come up to the front of her mind ("I can't drink hot chocolate anymore," she confesses at one point, remembering that she'd been buying hot chocolate for her son when the boy was taken). Initially she just notices the man, makes some vague platitudes about him and wants to move on, but quickly becomes obsessed, especially once she seems him hanging around a young boy...

The movie is about several things. It's about crime and punishment. It's about guilt and how it can consume you from within. It's about a lonely woman and a shy man finding each other. It's about shattered parents trying to move on.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding, Intelligent Film Experience July 14, 2011
On a flight from New York to Helsinki, Finland, the people sitting close enough to see, and even possibly the staff, might have thought I was having a personal "episode" of some kind, because while watching this film, I not only teared up but I actually cried some minutes during one of the crucial scenes.

I've had dreams about my son being kidnapped before, scarily vivid and heart pounding, as I knew I couldn't reach and rescue him in time before he was whisked away in a dark car by the perpetrators. The helpless, the scream of loss, the terrible realization someone else has your child for whatever reason, at their total control. Rather than deal with the crime itself, DeUsynlige expounds upon the emotions and long-reaching effects the event has not only on the relatives of the victim, but on the murderer as well.

As you can read in the description, its a fairly straightforward premise, and from the details anyone might imagine some of the emotions that might be presented: guilt, rage, grief and love, but the acting is so superb, the direction so subtle yet powerful, the score brilliant, that the sum total makes for an unforgettable, moving film.

Some have complained of it being disjointed, as it is not necessarily presented in sequential order, yet I found the style to be particularly effective for the storyline as any event, especially a crime, can be remembered in different ways depending on your perspective. Certainly the recently released and willing to talk parolee had more knowledge of the actual events than was ever presented in the courtroom. Having lived with the rage, grief and guilt for many years, the grieving parents have filled in pieces of the puzzle to help assuage their own agony, and to try to make some sense of a senseless crime.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Much to Praise in "Troubled Water"
Startlingly dark film with one of Scandinavia's favorites. Pal Sverre (Kon Tiki). Lots of twists and turns in the plot, beautiful music, great cinematography and acting.
Published 17 days ago by Michelle Lamb Discher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie about repentance and guilt.
Published 1 month ago by L. Rowley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This film maker is on the leading edge (for the world) in discovering exactly what makes a criminal.
Published 1 month ago by Wendy Share
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you :)
Published 3 months ago by Adrian
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, troubling, moving
Beautiful and deeply moving. I'm in such a spell after watching that I hardly know what to say.

A few reviewers have complained about "plot holes". Read more
Published 4 months ago by Erin Matthiessen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!!!
If you don't mind subtitles or if you can speak Norwegian give this film a try. It is not a mystery, but it does have elements of surprise despite not expecting them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by JS
5.0 out of 5 stars Met my expectations
I picked this up when Blockbuster closed their stores. I probably gave each disk about five seconds before putting it back or putting it in a "maybe" pile. Read more
Published 7 months ago by quietstorm
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Hagen Performance <3
Troubled Water is one up of the most holistically beautiful films that I have ever seen. The casting and actors are perfect, the cinematography leaves you breathless, and the icing... Read more
Published 9 months ago by urbancowgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and compelling
There have been many reviews written about this movie, some of which have described the storyline very well, to which I will only add that the movie is broken down into two... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film
Cracking film - thought-provoking, deep human issues and skilful cinematography. Touching and shocking by turns. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Homer
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