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Review: Troubled Water

Erik Poppe's Rivetting Redemption Drama

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Review: Troubled Water

Sverre Valheim Hagen and Ellen Dorrit Petersen in a scene from 'Troubled Water' (DeUsynlige).

Paradox Spillefilm
A seemingly classic redemption story, Troubled Water follows the character of Thomas (Sverre Valheim Hagen), who serves an eight year prison term for the murder of a young boy. We witness the halting, awkward steps Thomas takes to set his life back on track: first a job, then an apartment, and finally, a chance at love, happiness, forgiveness. Until his secret is inevitably revealed. What is unusual about Troubled Water is in the details. Thomas finds work as an organist at a Catholic church. The woman (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) he loves is not only the priest at this church; she is also the single mother of a young, blond son who eerily resembles the child Thomas killed.

Trine Dyrholm in a scene from 'Troubled Water.'

Paradox Spillefilm
The first half of Troubled Water is certainly well told, but Poppe's film rises to another level altogether when the story switches to the perspective of the murdered child's mother (Trine Dyrholm). In a festival of many discoveries, Dyrholm was the most exciting. (She also starred in another festival premiere, Pernille Fischer Christensen's Dancers, which coincidentally takes on the subject of redemption.)

Dyrholm is an extraordinary actress. In Troubled Water, the character of Agnes becomes unhinged: she transforms from a seemingly adjusted person -- a school teacher and married mother of two adopted girls -- to a deranged stalker and kidnapper. Her children sense the change: in one unforgettable scene, Agness' youngest daughter screams "Mommy brought Isaac home!" while her husband stares in horror and one more unexpected person races in.

The intensity level of Troubled Water runs sky high. The story is small in scope, focusing on a handful of people whose lives are ripped apart by a lost youth's mindless crime. For this cast of characters, however, the entire world is no bigger than this one story - and it is riveting. At the film's climax, the parallel stories of Thomas and the Agnes merge into the claustrophobic, impossible yet altogether believable space of an automobile.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Well, maybe 4.888 stars, Member Toronthab

This is a magnificent movie indeed a wonderful bridge over troubled water. The pope's title is 'pontiff' which means bridge and as a commentator noted, this story certainly embraces all the themes of catholicism, it is Lutheran. The movie is simply magnificent. There is no other word for it. Your life will be richer for having seen it , but it is not a tiring 'eat it cuz its goof for you' type of movie. You will be part of the screen. The acting is astounding. The story is astounding. The wisdom is astounding. Some small theological and philosophical points as I studied a little philosophy. The priestess says, the existence of God cannot be proven. Aristotle and Aquinas respectfully disagree as an unconditioned cause is necessary to explain all conditioned causes , like you and me. And such a cause of persons must of course be personal , even working through billions of years. The church doesn't have priestesses, because the church is actually the bride of christ.. men and all. The priest acts in personal Christi, in the person of Christ and sex is not irrelevant, not that one is better. The big star of Catholicism is a woman, Mary, and men don't write the rules, Christ does. Sorry for the small treatise on Catholicism which I love. You will absolutely love this wonderful movie and the wonderful Lutherans and everyday folk they represent. I dare say, God wants you to watch this movie and enjoy many , many blessings. Bravo for a magnificent and profound journey I will likely always remember most fondly. If you immerse yourself in these troubled waters, you might love ""Bella"" as well. Again. Bravo!

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