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TROUBLED WATER (DeUSYNLIGE) (director: Erik Poppe; screenwriter: Harald Rosenløw Eeg; cinematographers: Ingeborg Klyve/John Christian Rosenlund; editor: Einar Egeland; music: Johan Söderqvist; cast: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen (Jan Thomas), Trine Dyrholm (Agnes), Trond Espen Seim (Jon), Ellen Dorrit Petersen (Anna), Jon Vågenes Eriksen (Isak), Angelou Garcia (Malin), Henriette Garcia (Selma), Fredrik Grøndahl (Jens); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Finn Gjerdrum/Stein B. Kvae; Film Movement (Paradox Spille Film); 2008-Norway-in Norwegian with English subtitles)
“A very moving drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Erik Poppe(“Bunch of Five”/”1,000 Times Good Night“) directs and Harald Rosenløw Eeg writes the screenplay for this serious high-concept Norwegian drama.

A soft-spoken convict Jan (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen), serving eight years for the murder of a child, though claiming he took part in the kidnapping but not the murder, is released and through the efforts of the prison chaplain becomes the church organist in Oslo. His peaceful manner and his spiritual playing stirs the romantic interest of the single mother pastor, Anna (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), who has a young son Jens (Fredrik Grøndahl) the same age as the boy he was convicted of murdering. The film also shows the victim’s family’s reaction and how they never recovered from the tragedy of the murder. Agnes (Trine Dyrholm), a school teacher, is the mother of the murdered boy, and lives in Oslo with her husband Jon (Trond Espen Seim) and their two adopted Asian daughters. When Agnes takes her class on a school trip, one day, they go to the church of the ex-con organist and he plays a striking version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Agnes is depressed when she recognizes the child killer. Her husband no longer wants to live in Oslo. At dinner with Jon’s new boss, the women express how crushed they are at the loss of both their sons. The involving spiritual film, a very moving drama, turns on how from such grief as theirs, the couple finds a way to forgive the ex-con. The profound film makes it possible for us to feel sorry for both the ex-con trying to get a fresh start on life and the pained family trying to recover from their loss.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”