Reel Affirmations 2006
Review by Will O’Bryan
Rating: (2 out of 5)
Wednesday, 10/18/2006, 7:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Landmark’s E Street Cinema
THERE’S BEEN A murder! And to find out whodunit, we’ll be working backward in this gloomy drama from Sweden. From the beginning, we know that Nassim is dead, and all evidence points to his lover, Peter. The bulk of Keillers Park is spent telling the audience how we got here. The last 10 minutes or so are spent infusing the whole story with a twist, which is the most engaging — though rather unbelievable and highly depressing — segment the movie offers.
Keillers Park suffers primarily in that neither Peter nor Nassim is particularly likeable. If the audience really cared about these guys, we might be drawn in. Instead, take Peter: a closeted, married man. He does a fair job of carrying on his dying father’s patriarchal misogyny, disrespecting both his wife and sister. And he has a temper. Nassim, on the other hand, at first seems like a ”free spirit.” In no time at all, however, his true colors are revealed as more a lazy buffoon.
Both men seem incredibly out of step with reality. In ultra-progressive Stockholm, Peter’s closeted persona seems archaic. This plays against the absurd degree of Nassim’s naivety. Most will be left dumbfounded when he invites a homeless stranger — with whom he’s shared about two words — to crash on the floor of the apartment he shares with Peter. We’re meant to see Nassim as victim, though it’s hard not to see him as simply an idiot.
The acting is rather good, especially so from Mårten Klingberg as Peter, and it’s nice to see some contemporary Swedish scenery. The only other treat is the twist in the climax, as the puzzle is solved. But when all is said and done, you may feel tricked, as the twist is designed to depress. It does nothing more than add insult to this injured affair.
Not quite a coming-out story, not quite a love story, perhaps a bit of a murder mystery, Keillers Park is apparently inspired by true events. We can give the benefit of the doubt to filmmaker Susanna Edwards, in that the nonfiction aspects of the story created constraints rather than inspiration. — WOB