(director/writer: Gustav Moller; screenwriter: Emil Nygaard Albertsen; cinematographer: Jasper Spanning; editor: Rasmus Stensgaard Madsen; music: Jon Ekstrand; cast: Sidse Babeti Knudsen (Eva), Dar Salim (Rami), Sebatian Bull (Mikkel Iversen), Marina Bouras (Helle), Thomas Vos (Bo), Rami Zavat (Ali), Olaf Johannessen (prison chef); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lina Flint; Nordisk Film; 2024-Denmark/Sweden/France -in Danish, with English subtitles)

“Unnerving psychological drama on revenge.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Danish filmmaker Gustav Moller (“The Guilty”) and writer Emil Nygaard Albertsen present this  unnerving psychological drama on revenge, which serves as a morality play.

The simple plot, in this conventional but well-acted film, has a prison guard played by the great Sidse Babett Knudsen exact vengeance on the prisoner responsible for murdering her son.

The beloved Danish corrections officer, Eva Hansen (Sidse Babeti Knudsen), efficiently works in a low-security cell block in a Copenhagen prison. She has command of the physically stronger male prisoners despite being smaller, while she’s also not afraid to act like a mother to them.

What gives her a heavy heart is that her 19-year-old felon son, Simon, was killed by another prisoner while behind bars, and she has guilt feelings she didn’t pay enough attention to her son that he became a criminal while living at home.

One day she becomes startled that the heartless, angry and heavily tattooed convict who killed her son, Mikkel Iversen (Sebastian Bull), is transferred into her prison. He is placed in the Centre Zero cell block for dangerous prisoners, after killing another inmate.

Eva tells the warden of this conflict of interest and requests a transfer to Centre Zero. The strict commander there, Rami (Dar Salim), accepts Eva and gives her lessons on how to act with the dregs of the prison population.

She aims to make prison life for Mikkel as unbearable as possible, as she immediately puts a stop to his mother (Marina Bouras) visiting him.

It was filmed like a documentary in the Copenhagen prison of Vridsleselille. 

It played at the Berlin Film Festival.

REVIEWED ON 3/10/2024  GRADE: B+