After the Wedding

"After the Wedding" is a Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen (the villain whose tear duct wept blood in "Casino Royale"). This time he plays a wastrel who outgrew his bad habits and has become a dedicated worker in India, feeding and caring for an endless supply of orphans. The woman who runs the charity tells him they have been offered a chance to be granted a healthy sum of money if he goes to Copenhagen and meets with a well-known billionaire who has shown an interest.

In one brief airplane ride, his life is transformed from one of heat, dust, poverty and hunger to one of luxury and largesse. When he is met at the airport, the fellow who picks him up is the billionaire's soon-to-be son-in-law, as the wedding is scheduled for the next day. Even though he declines, the bombastic billionaire insists he attend the wedding (he has all the subtlety of a pile driver). They have had a brief, cordial and to our hopeful hero, optimistic, meeting, so he reluctantly accepts, as he doesn't want to insult the man and possibly jeopardize his much-needed contribution. I liked the contrast between their complexions -- the Danish man is Nordic pale and the health-care worker definitely shows the effects of intense sunlight, he is bronzed and weathered.

He arrives late to the wedding and comes in just as the young couple is concluding their vows. His arrival creates a minor stir and among the faces that turn in reaction, he recognizes a woman he had loved almost twenty years ago. She is the fortyish mother of the bride, who is a little over nineteen.

Then things get interesting...

This film won raves at Cannes. The acting is superb, particularly that of the billionaire. The camera work was a little too intense for me: super close close-ups of eyes, eyelashes, lips, etc., that I found somewhat disconcerting. The pace is very European, which is NOT a negative in my book!

Be prepared for an emotional workout, interesting locations and great performances.