A Second Chance

A Second Chance ★★★★½

I went to see this partly because I have admired Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime in Game of Thrones, and partly because reveiws made it sound like a really good film. It is.

There are four main characters in this story: two sets of parents, each with a very young baby.

Andreas is a detective, and he and his wife Anna live a comfortable-looking life. Their new baby cries a lot, but don't they all? The proud and caring father takes turns with his frazzled wife to try and calm their son. He'll take tiny Alexander for a midnight ride in his car: she sometimes takes him for a night-time stroll in the buggy when he is fractious.

Meanwhile Andreas and his detective partner are called to the home of Klaus, a well-known violent and woman abusing criminal. His partner, long-suffering Sanne, also has a young baby boy, called Sofus. But as the couple are addicts who live in chaotic squalor, the child is neglected and left for hours in a dirty nappy. Andreas is aghast at the scene.

To relate what happens after that would be revealing many spoilers: but we are once again in "Nordic Noir" country. The script packs a mean punch to the heart. Suffice it to say that the remainder of the film is full of intense and harrowing emotion all round. This is faithfully presented by all four of the excellent main actors, well supported by the rest of the cast. The camera-work focusses effectively on details of their expressions: a gentle finger here, a tear-stricken cheek there, a loving glance, a horrified gaze or a howl of despair. Coster-Waldau is particularly moving as a tender and loving father figure, as well as a frustrated and conflicted cop.

I was so engrossed in this supremely well told and tragic story that I didn't notice if there was background music or not, and totally forgot I was reading sub-titles. (We are in Denmark.)

I would have given it five stars, but the half is off for what I felt was an unrealistic little scene at the end. Otherwise - a perfect piece of cinema.

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