Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Adam's Apples is one of the most wicked and funny films I've seen in a while. It is on one hand a meditation on faith, belief and the struggle of good against evil. But on the other hand, it is a vulgar faerie tale featuring a rogue's gallery of unlikable characters that somehow (and believe me, against all odds) become endearing by the films end. Bear with me when I say it is a mix of A Fish Called Wanda, Pulp Fiction and The Seventh Seal, but set in a quaint church in the sunny Danish countryside.

The story opens with Adam getting off a bus in the middle of nowhere. By his tattoos, thuggish build and shaved head is immediately identified as your stereotypical neo-Nazi. He casually pulls his knife from his pocket and carves into the paint of the bus as it pulls away. Enter Ivan, who is neatly dressed and sports a cropped beard. He is the local minister who cares for former inmates during the transitional time between prison and freedom. Adam is a tough, take no sh1t kinda guy, and Ivan bugs him, well, just by being there to pick him up. Ivan refuses to see any evil in the world, and sets the gold-standard for turning the-other-cheek.

It is my understanding that naiv is the Danish word for naive, which is an anagram for Ivan. Adam all but spits on him, yet Ivan remains cheerful that their time together will be productive. So cheerful, that there is an immediate suspicion that something just is not right with Ivan. Take for example, when he shows Adam the churches prized apple tree. Adam jokingly comments that he'd like to back a cake with all the apples. Ivan thinks it is a great idea, and makes Adam's reform task to bake an apple cake. Either because Ivan annoys him, or is just completely unfathomable, Adam decides his 'task' will be to break the priests cheery faith on top of the baking. Along for the ride are the local residents of church (a ironically dysfunctional Eden of sorts). An alcoholic ex-tennis player with kleptomaniac tendencies, a Saudi stick-up man who robs gas stations on the grounds of politics, a gallows-humoured doctor with a penchant for gossip and outrageous story-telling and a homeless pregnant woman who also has a love of the drink and loose morals (but is an occasional WWF activist for endangered Indonesian tigers), make for a decidedly politically incorrect ensemble.

While sounding heavy-handed (as my poor prose would suggest), the screenplay is a marvel at putting assumptions and expectations into the blender and hitting frappe. It is a pop-cinema riff on the Book of Job which can turn from satirical humour to violent tragedy on a dime. Wunderkind screenwriter/director, Anders Thomas Jensen has a sharp sense of how to bubble up a message of spirituality over the course of the film which climbs out of the morass of murders of crows, lightning-bolts from heaven, miniature plagues and casual shootings. Adam's Apples boasts a superb collection of Danish ready-for-prime-time players: Always brilliant Mads Mikkelsen (who just scored himself the role of Bond villain in the up coming Casino Royale), Ulrich Thomsen, Ole Thestrup and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (the star of Reconstruction (KBT #39) who seems, from the deleted scenes, to have landed unfortunately on the cutting room floor), Nicolas Bro, Paprika Steen and the more-fun-than-the-Muhammad-Cartoons timebomb of Ali Kazim.

In a just world, this film deserves to achieve not only cult-comedy status, but also be the basis of a bible-study for a forward thinking church or two.

Drinks at 8:15. Trailers and Showtime at 8:30pm.


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