18-year-old Caspar wants to reach the top, no matter what. He carries out small-time break-ins for Jamal, before moving on to work for big player Björn. All goes well, until Jamal's gang ...
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18-year-old Caspar wants to reach the top, no matter what. He carries out small-time break-ins for Jamal, before moving on to work for big player Björn. All goes well, until Jamal's gang decide they want revenge. What starts with pushing and shoving soon escalates into armed conflict. This is a big test for Caspar: is he ruthless enough for this battle? And will he drag his younger brother into it?Written by
Well told story about street violence, youth crime and its impact on family relationships. Enough developments to keep us interested for 95 minutes
I saw this movie at the Rotterdam film festival 2013 (IFFR), where it was part of the Bright Future section. It is a story around 18 year old Caspar, who starts modestly as a burglar stealing valuables or electronic equipment on demand. He has a fixed "contract" with Jamal, who buys the loot from him. However, Caspar has plans to scale up, and gradually comes to terms with tough guy Björn. He gets accepted in those circles, and assigned more and more responsible tasks. All is going well and according to plan, until the moment that Jamal decides to have his revenge. This gets out of hand very soon, and you hardly can expect a smooth escape out of this situation, and thus assume a not so very happy end.
The film is named after Northwest, a suburb district of Copenhagen (Denmark). Not only because of a strong reputation of youth crime, this area was also chosen for a simple practical reason: it was open enough to let the film makers in and to cooperate with them. Much knowledge about the neighborhood was acquired by asking around and talking with locals living there. The director made documentaries before, and this was the usual method of operations for him. Moreover, they really tried to blend in while shooting, by living in the apartment (together with mom and kids) that was used in the film as decor.
The information in the previous paragraph was gathered from a final Q&A with the film makers, a considerable subset of them present with the screening. It was the 2nd screening ever, on the day immediately following the world premiere in Sweden. Some of the crew were still recuperating from a hangover, but answered as best as possible on questions from moderator and audience. From the Q&A we also learned that none of the actors is educated as such, but most of them played before in movies or TV series. The way this director makes movies is working without a detailed script, leaving much improvised. The scene and setting is rehearsed before the shooting, but what actually happens after the camera switches on, is merely ad-hoc and left to the actors.
All in all, an interesting plot, giving some insight in how the criminal mind works, and opening lots of opportunities for even so interesting developments. Maybe also a bit about second generation immigrant Jamal versus native Björn, and upholding respect from their respective gangs?? Apart from portraying street violence and youth gangs, the story is also about the impact that this dangerous way of living can have on family relationships. It is really a "way of living" to survive in such circumstances, and not always easy to keep your family out of it, be it to repair the damages when you come home wounded, or when people are waiting for you outside to collect money or have an argument. And it gets easily from bad to ugly by throwing things through the window, or even threatening to set the house on fire.
The festival visitors gave an average score of 4.268 (out of 5), thereby ranking it 21st (out of 178) for the audience award. As far as I'm concerned, this film maker shows indeed a Bright Future, deservedly put in the festival section with that name.
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