After The Wedding
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak and Mike Cavanaugh (20th July 2007).
The Film

The last time I saw Mads Mikkelsen he was a menacing 'James Bond' villain. So I was a little perplexed to see him billed in "After the Wedding" as a Danish exile "lavishing what love he can spare" on orphaned children. But I was convinced from the movie's opening that here was something special.
Jacob (Mikkelson) lives in India and runs an orphanage in need of financial support. An incredibly rich hotelier, Jörgen (Rolf Lassgård), offers him a chance, and bankroll, of a lifetime, but Jacob must return to Denmark to discuss it. The story revolves around personal relationships exposed during Jacob's business trip back to Copenhagen, and the clashes that occur before during and after the wedding of Jörgen's twenty-year old daughter. Soon we discover there's more at play than what we see on the surface.
"After the Wedding" sounds more like a soap opera than an amazing movie, but the incredible ensemble with their flawless portrayals means we are left with something Hollywood could never achieve. Everyone perfectly portrays the sense of hidden demons, of secret motives and desires. The result is an experience that is transfixing, memorable, and moving.
That's not to say Mikkelson is nothing less than sublime in bringing to life the character of Jacob as a peaceful, loving, yet tortured and haunted soul. This is a far cry from the vindictive ruthless Bond villain I first knew him as. The man has depth, and along with everyone else, deftly breathes life into a poignant tale. From his arrival back in Copenhagen, we see his unease, feel his reluctance and rage. Our sympathy for the fall of these defenses and Jacob's reconnection with others is intricately portrayed.
The same goes for everyone involved: Jörgen is a man possessed, but we're never sure exactly why until towards the end; the connections between father and daughter, husband and wife, are gripping and tender; and we lose ourselves in the rekindling of a man once lost. "After the Wedding" really is a stunning film that speaks to human emotions and questions how and why we look to others.
This is an intricate story of people with real emotions, riveting drama and is as touching as it sounds corny. I found it enthralling, and highly recommend it.

Video

Presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 this anamorphic transfer is a competent effort from genius presenting the film cleanly. The image is sharp and fine with colors appearing vibrant. Black levels are appropriately deep and bold with shadow detail remaining consistently good throughout the film. Furthermore skin tones remain natural. Although there isn't anything technically wrong with this transfer I did find it a little flat, perhaps this has something to do with the photography and lighting scheme but it didn't evoke a sense of depth that the script certainly does. Other than that it's my only gripe of this otherwise fine transfer.

Audio

A single Danish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is included. This is a dialogue driven film that also features some subtle ambient surround effects and as far as 5.1 tracks go this is a very somber mix. The dialogue is clean and distortion free but there isn't a lot happening in the surround channels and the bass is decidedly quiet most of the time. But in saying that it's a mix that suits the film and anything more would have been either a waste or a distraction to the engaging scenes that follow.
Optional subtitles are included in English, English for the hearing impaired and Spanish.

Extras

First up we have "A Conversation with director Susanne Bier", this interview runs for 23 minutes 38 seconds. During this clip the director comments on the character of Jørgen and his hidden agenda, using film to pose questions, on Jacob's idealism, the lighting design, the themes of family that are prevalent in her films, on trying to avoid being too sentimental and melodramatic, on directing difficult scenes and the use of ultra close-ups as well as taking risks on making different types of film among other things. This clip is engaging an\d insightful and considering there is no audio commentary this makes for an adequate substitution.

Next up are a series of 8 deleted scenes that include an introduction by director Susanne Bier that runs for 7 minutes 48 seconds, in this clip she comments on the various cut scenes. The scenes included are:

- "Jacob's Home Video From India" runs for 2 minutes 40 seconds, in this scene we see rough footage of the school and orphanage that Jacob works at in India.
- "Another Guest" runs for 2 minutes 12 seconds, Anna tells Helene that some of the wine is no good but doesn't seem to take it very seriously, later Jörgen informs her to expect another guest at the wedding.
- "Dinner" runs for 1 minute 3 seconds, before the bride makes her speech the old ladies sitting at Jacob's table complain about there being bullets in the pheasant.
- "Jörgen and Jacob In The Bar" runs for 1 minute 36 seconds, the two guys play dice and get drunk.
- "Jörgen Comes Home From The Bar" runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds, a drunk Jörgen stumbles out of the car as he greets his family, Helene then puts him to bed.
- Helene Finds Jacob" runs for 4 minutes 5 seconds, Helene visits Jacob at his apartment and tells him to go back to India.
- "Getting The Kids Ready" runs for 1 minute 17 seconds, Helene prepares the kids to go fishing with their dad.
- "Fishing Trip" runs for 1 minute 59 seconds, Jörgen and the kids catch a small fish at the lake.

Also on this disc is the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 19 seconds.

Rounding out the extras are some bonus trailers for:
- "Private Fears in Public Places" which runs for 1 minute 55 seconds.
- "The Exterminating Angels" which runs for 1 minute 55 seconds.
- "Russian Dolls" which runs for 2 minutes 8 seconds.
- "Gabrielle" which runs for 1 minute 49 seconds.

Overall

The Film: A+ Video: A- Audio: B Extras: C+ Overall: B+

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.