Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Terribly Happy

(Frygtelig lykkelig, Denmark, 2008)

I always tend to think of Scandinavian countries as liberal, liberated, clean and orderly without being Germanic, full of happy and attractive fair-haired people. Stieg Larsson disabused me of that picture in Sweden, and now Henrik Ruben Genz has shattered my illusions about Denmark. Actually, I really knew better if I thought about it. The fact is that all countries apparently have their small-town, small-minded country people. Here, a cop from Copenhagen has been banished to the countryside in the south as punishment for some “terrible thing” he did. It’s a while before we learn what that was, and I won’t reveal it. The people of this small town reminded me a lot of the closed-off, rather mean people in the Cornish town in Straw Dogs. The cop becomes involved with a flirtatious and possibly extremely disturbed woman who is being beaten at home. That’s about all I can say about that, because the movie was not what I had expected, and has several surprising twists. It reminded me very much of Blood Simple. It’s not quite as good as that, but it is very good.