Sunday, February 24, 2008

kvik pik-adam's apples

Sentenced to community service at a small, countryside church, Adam, a middle-aged neo-Nazi, is warmly welcomed by the cheerful vicar, Ivan. Although Adam is crude, full of hostility, and clearly beyond redemption, Ivan encourages him to choose a goal that will occupy his time there. When Adam dismissively replies that he will bake an apple pie, Ivan assigns him the task of nurturing the church's lone apple tree. If by the time this unassuming tree has been attacked by crows, infested with maggots, and struck by lighting, you are not reasonably certain it has become the battleground for a fiercely irreverent struggle between good and evil, then you have not had the pleasure of meeting an Anders Thomas Jensen film. With a supporting bunch of characters that includes an Arab immigrant who routinely robs gas stations and a chubby former tennis pro and sex addict, this glib parable of religion and human nature plays out with wit and sophistication. Into Adam and Ivan (played with deadpan perfection by Ulrich Thomsen and Mads Mikkelsen), Jensen deposits competing philosophies. Ivan, whose absurd philosophical optimism would have Voltaire falling out of his pew, interprets events as the devil testing people. Adam shakes his unflappable faith by suggesting that evil simply doesn't exist. Adam's Apples is a wickedly dark comedy by one of cinema's most exciting directors.

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