Beyond (2010) *** First Nordic Film Festival London 2012

November 25th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director/Writer Pernilla August       Novel: Susanna Alakoski
Ola Repace, Noomi Repace, Outi Maenpaa, Ville Virtanen, Tehilla Blad, Junior Blad

97min  Drama (Sweden, Finland) Subtitles

Scandinavian domestic dramas are hot property as the moment.  They can be unflichingly brutal and emotionally searing while still being entirely believable. And Beyond is no exception.  It stars Nooma Repace (of Lisbeth Sander fame) in a performance here of depth and dramatic skill as a woman coming to terms with a childhood fraught with abuse and alcoholism in seventies Sweden. As Leena, we meet her living happily in the present day and on the verge on celebrating Christmas with husband Johan and their two kids. When a phonecall shatters their tranquility, the past comes back to haunt her interweaving with the present in a tense and gripping thriller that packs a powerful punch throughout.

Losely adapted from a novel by Susanna Alakoski, the film won Nordic Council Filmprize for debut director Pernilla August who honed her considerable skills during a long-time career in acting. Beyond is dark and moody tale featuring scenes of harrowing domestic and emotional abuse made all the more penetrating by Erik Molberg Hansen’s gritty cinematography and the heartfelt chemistry of leads Leena and Johan (her real life partner Ola Repace) and by an oustanding turn from newcomer Tehilla Blad (as the young Leena). Well-known Finnish actress Outi Maenpaa plays her alcoholic mother in a performance that’s both impressive and at times hard to watch. MT



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