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After Borgen and Westworld, this Cesar-winning actor stars in a visceral prison drama.

After Borgen and Westworld, this Cesar-winning actor stars in a visceral prison drama.

Double punishment

Eva (Sidse Babet Knudsen) is an exemplary prison guard: firm but compassionate, she is as respected by the inmates as her colleagues. But this apparent perfection is shattered when the arrival of a new convict presents Eve with a terrifying dilemma. What relationship might she have with this young man (Sebastian Bull Sarning), straight from her past?

“Mother’s figure in a masculine and violent environment”

Awarded at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2018, unanimously accepted by the press and the public, The Guilty managed to create a great stir thanks to the risky bet of its staging. By choosing to go entirely behind closed doors, Danish director Gustav Møller chose a particularly restrictive system for both disabled and stressed audiences. However, by turning this reduced frame into the main originality of his first feature film and using him as a character, the director managed to change the limitation and create an apnea film that is both dark and brilliant.

After a significant presence on television with The Wall and Dark Heat, Gustav Müller returns to the big screen with the same ingredients responsible for the unanimous success of The Guilty: a closed environment, diving into the everyday life of specialized law enforcement officers and, always, demonstrating their helplessness and frustration.

Get out of the emergency lines, this time it is in the prison environment that Gustav Müller takes the audience with his children. As confident as she is, as well-respected as she is by inmates and colleagues, Eva is a seemingly inconspicuous figure, but the arrival of a new element will disrupt her habits.

Eva and the young Mikel, confronting each other as if in the heart of an arena from which they cannot escape, allow Gustav Müller to return to the basis of his cinema: confinement. The theme, of course, is introduced in the prison environment of the children, but also with the growing anger that these two characters struggle to contain deep within themselves.

This fury, the reason for which he keeps secret for part of the film, is captured in meticulous detail by the film’s director. The staring, the clenching of the jaw, the trembling of the hands… there are so many symptoms of Eva’s discomfort that the camera continues to shoot in tight shots, illuminated by the harsh light of the prison’s neon lights.

Actress Sidse Babett Knudsen is impressive in this restrained role, which still prevails, as it were, with a deafening and terrifying hatred. Awarded a César for Best Supporting Actress for L’Hermine in 2016 and then nominated in the same category for La Fille de Brest, Sidse Babette Knudsen has since excelled on the small screen in the HBO series Westworld and is proving it again. , the immensity of his talent that prison walls cannot contain.

This character, which Gustav Müller defines as “A maternal figure in a masculine and violent environment”, is built as if in the reflection of his nemesis, young Mikel. Where Eve’s fury remains contained, expressed only in sporadic outbursts or, of course, brutal but subtle maneuvers, the newcomer’s outbursts of rage seem like absolute and undisguised violence.

If they are first portrayed as opposites, Eva and Mikel eventually appear as two sides of the same coin, two faces of the same anger and the same frustration that only this union will allow them to show. But will they find in each other what they lost?

Sounds like it’s in theaters now.

Source: Allocine

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