Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jern & Larsson's "Savage" - Searing Swedish Potboiler

In a small Swedish town, Kim (Magnus Skog) who recently completed jail time for a petty crime, wants a clean slate. He dreams of a house and a steady job, but opportunity is nil. His girl friend is getting as frustrated and eventually decides to leave him. Kim tries hard to dissociate himself from his father who sells alcoholic beverages to 12 year olds. Meanwhile, Jesper (Stefan Soderberg), Kim’s friend, sells himself to online perverts, doing cam porn shows in exchange of money. Jesper lives in a rundown bus, but is hard up in paying rent.

Susanne (Sofie Karlsson) is desperate for a pole dancing spot, but she just doesn’t have the knack for it. Teenager Ylva (Emelie Sundelin) struggles to deal with her burgeoning lust. She in fact carries playing cards bearing photos of naked men with raging hard ons. But her dilemma extends domestically. Her parents are exigently religious, thus exceedingly conservative.

Martin Jern and Emil Larsson’s Odjuret (Savage)” assiduously follows four Swedish souls woven together by their despondent tries to better their lives. Against the backdrop of a crumbling Swedish economy and its concordant moral bankruptcy, “Savage” gives us a grim picture of a slice of Europe that we seldom hear about. Ironically, such narrative caliginosity provides a compelling watch. Skog and Soderberg carry magnetic presence that seduces you further to take the journey with them. Sundelin’s Ylva, torn between her mushrooming sexual desires and her religious restrictions, depict a well threshed out conflict. She reminds us of humanity's struggles with the flesh; aren’t we victims of our desires?

Though the characters are adequately built, their desperation doesn’t seem to exonerate the explosive conclusion; one that left me dumb founded for a few minutes as the credits rolled to a close.

Savage” was released last year (2011). It is one of my great finds; a cinematic gem from Sweden.

Susanne's desperate to become a pole dancer.

Jesper performs illicit cam shows to save money for rent.

Ylva and Susanne head to a party for four.

Ylva frees herself from the shackles of her religion. Jesper's only too pleased to help her out.

Kim and Jesper spar away.

Ylva's temptations.

Magnus Skog

Emelie Sundelin

"Savage's" amazing quartet.

Stefan Soderberg and Magnus Skog in character.

No comments: