The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Stockholm Ostra (Stockholm East) | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Stockholm Ostra (Stockholm East)

Directed by: Simon Kaijser
Starring: Mikael Persbrandt, Iben Hjejle, Henrik Norlen, Liv Mjones

Persbrandt becomes romantically involved with Hjejle, unbeknownst to her he is the driver who killed her young daughter in a road accident.
Hitchcock has De Palma, Sirk has Todd Haynes, now Wong Kar-Wai has Simon Kaijser. De Palma and Haynes don't have to deal with any cultural differences when aping their idols but Stockholm and Hong Kong may as well be on two different planets culturally. Kaijser goes to such lengths with his homage that the movie becomes laughable. The "philosophical" voiceovers, neon lighting, use of a key location, time distorting camera tricks and culturally contrasting music all fall flat here. It's hard to imagine any European saying a line of dialogue like "I think of you from the moment I wake till I fall asleep at night", least of all a Scandinavian. Even Kar-Wai struggled himself when he went to America to make "My Blueberry Nights", a movie that just seemed ridiculous when featuring white people.
The two central actors are far too good for the awful dialogue they're forced to speak. Danish actress Hjejle may be recognisable to mainstream viewers as John Cusack's girlfriend in "High Fidelity". It's strange how she never got more work stateside.
Per Kallberg's cinematography is far too good for a movie of this quality, nicely capturing the colors of a Swedish autumn in a way we rarely see. Scandinavia is a beautiful part of the world but few of it's film-makers seem interested in presenting it so. This is one of those movies best enjoyed with the sound turned down, or in this case, the subtitles off.