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Neglected by an abusive, alcoholic mother, two young brothers grow into emotionally limited, damaged adults in SUBMARINO, an award-winning Danish drama from acclaimed director Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration, Dear Wendy) based on the 2007 novel Submarino by Jonas T. Bengtsson. The winner of Scandinavias top film award, SUBMARINO tells the unforgettable story of two brothers, long estranged and haunted by a dark secret buried in their past, who live separate lives in modern day Copenhagen. Nick (Jakob Cedergren), a violent ex-con, tries to help out an old friend, but falls quickly into old habits. Meanwhile, his brother (Peter Plaugborg), raises his son, but is unable to escape the spectre of addiction. Each on a path to self-destruction, they must find each other before its too late.
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Yes, it's about two brothers who were severely traumatized in childhood. And yes, they have not been able to adjust and create a "normal" life, with one recently released from jail (the reason of which is not divulged ) and one an addict. But as somber as it may seem, both retained their "humanity", as manifested in their intact capacity to care and love. One taking the blame for a crime he didn't commit to protect a friend and the other caring and loving his son.Their love for each other also intact. The end, although maybe uncertain of the future, gives a sense of "closure" and love. Jakob Cedergren proves himself (as in other films) to be a formidable actor with a quiet but strong presence.
It also has a very great way of telling the story, presenting the caracters and involve you in it.
One of my favourites,,,
One wonders how they survived their own earliest years, and we are struck by their decency and their loving natures. Still again, it's no surprise when, as adults, neither has escaped the emotional demons that were born during childhood and adolescence.
As is often the case with abused children, their lives, at first blush, seem to have gone in opposite directions. One drinks large quantities of beer and lifts weights to better prepare him for a hard world where strength and toughness count. A working class Lad who lives a life of little promise and even less meaning. He remains, though, self-sufficient and durable, neither dependent nor despondent. Its easy to imagine that he could go on more or less indefinitely in much the same way -- little to lose and nothing much gained.
While it's not as clear as it might be, the younger brother has taken a different path. He looks and acts the part of a nerd, but one who has attained middle class status. In spite of his unspecified but evident material and cultural attainments, however, he's much closer to the edge and apt to fall off than his seemingly less fortunate brother. Whatever emotional resources keep his older brother from desperation, he does not share them.
Both characters are sufficiently well developed to make the film's narrative believable, though it would be useful to know more about the life of the younger sibling -- how does he make a living, how did he start a failed family, how did he manage for as long as he did with the dangerous and debilitating coping mechanism he adopted. Still, the stark contrast between the lives of the two brothers is interesting, something commonly found among offspring who grew up in horrible circumstances of shared abuse.
Some viewers may conclude that there is redemption of a touching, even profound sort at the very end. In truth, however, I don't see it. Too much has been lost by too many, and the future remains a blank. Those who wish to can understandably harken back to the beginning scenes and surmise love and happiness for the survivors. I think, however, that so much has happened that has been so destructive that such a forecast is unduly sentimental.
In any case, this is a truly fine film, one that gets inside you head and, for better or worse, stays there. The viewer can construe it as a "wake up call" if he or she likes. I think that Submarino takes things that we know in a very abstract way and forces us to see them concretely. It's then that they become so troubling and so disturbingly real.