Monday, February 08, 2016

Review of 'Arven (Inheritance)'

A gloomy Danish film about a man who gives up his dream life with beautiful wife in Stockholm to come back to Copenhagen to run the family business from which he’s earlier walked away  – because his father has committed suicide. Lots of nastiness within the family because the brother-in-law who has been helping to run the business is aggrieved and tries to undermine him with sly fraud rumours, the gorgeous wife has to abandon her own successful career as a serious actress, and so on. 

In a period setting it would be a great illustration of the role of deferred gratification in the process of capitalist accumulation and the rise of the bourgeoisie. In modern Denmark it’s relentlessly miserable – our protagonist does his duty and becomes absolutely committed to the firm at the expense of his own happiness, breaking the promise he made to the gorgeous wife to limit his involvement to two years, shafting his loyal friends and family members. He has a drink-fuelled meltdown, tries to rape the chambermaid at the villa where his wife and new son go for a recovery holiday, and finally lets his wife (and son) go and replaces them with the woman his dominant mother prefers.

Well acted, some  good cinematography (especially the steelworks, but also the claustrophobic bourgeois house interiors).

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