Review by Tom Avila
Rating: (4 out of 5)
Friday, 10/14/2011, 7:00 PM
Feature presentation, $12 at Atlas Center for the Performing Arts
Swedish with English subtitles
FOUR MORE YEARS is a quirky Swedish film that could only be improved if all showings were accompanied by a brief outline of the Nordic country's political system. Fortunately for audiences in D.C., the embassy staffer sitting three seats over from you in the theater can likely provide such background information. Funny and incredibly charming, Four More Years is the rare modern love story that might actually deserve to be compared to Romeo and Juliet.
No, no one dies. But while David and Martin are not separated by feuding families, they are each rising stars in Sweden's opposing political parties, a wall that seems far more impenetrable.
David (Björn Kjellman) is a married conservative who appears on his way to becoming the next prime minister of Sweden. Martin (Eric Ericson) is recently, seemingly quite frequently, single, (his latest boyfriend having taken offense at Martin's decision to answer a work-related phone call during oral sex) and is considered by David's staffers to be, quite simply, the devil.
How could they not fall in love?
The movie's basic concept could quite easily spiral out of control and dive into the deep pool of melodrama that is often the refuge of films where married men fall in love with other men. Instead, director Tova Magnusson-Norling has brought together a cast with a brilliant sense of timing to deliver a story that keeps the pacing brisk and the mood, while not always sunny, suitably bright.
Of particular note is the chemistry between Kjellman and Ericson who manage to create characters that convey a genuine fondness for one another. They make more complex decisions, trading the flat out frenzy of love and lust, and allow the audience to see something softer and more emotionally mature. We actually see that first itch of attraction, played out with nothing more than a kind of shy nervousness that makes both men utterly irresistible.
It's hard to imagine, in our current climate, that a love story set in the midst of a rancorous political campaign could bring a smile to one's face. In doing so, Four More Years distinguishes itself as a real frontrunner.>
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