Suddenly (Underbara älskade) (2006)

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Released 2-Jun-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer-(1.36)
Trailer-The Light, As It Is In Heaven, Autumn Spring, Minor Mishaps
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 96:00 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Johan Brisinger
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Michael Nyqvist
Anastasios Soulis
Moa Gammel
Catherine Hansson
Philip Zandén
Sten Ljunggren
Anita Wall
Carl Ljunggren
Teresia Björk
Stig Engström
Johan H:son Kjellgren
Anna Lindholm
Michael Merikan
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Henrik Lörstad


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Swedish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Suddenly (Underbara Alskade) is a 2006 Swedish film written and directed by Johan Brisinger.

It enjoyed a limited release including a stint on the festivals circuit. A moving but dour drama, it should find an audience with World Cinema fans who like their dramas steeped in Nordic Bergmanesque chill.

The film is being marketed by distributor Madman Entertainment on the strength of its star, Michael Nyqvist, who featured in the hugely popular As It Is In Heaven . Although this film has less of the redemptive power of Heaven it still manages to showcase the work of this fine actor.

Nyqvist stars as Lasse, a seemingly successful professional with a blissful married life. That state of grace comes to an abrupt end when his wife and youngest son are killed in a road accident. Lasse and his eldest son Jonas (Anastasios Soulis) live on.

Or do they?

Nine months later and Jonas still bears the physical scars of the accident. He is having trouble at school and his physical injuries are mirrored by his mental scars. Lasse has fared no better, perhaps even worse. He is trapped in an all consuming gloom, ignoring his son and himself. After Lasse makes a casual suicide attempt Jonas briefly moves in with his maternal grandparents. They are desperate to see their daughter's son kept out of this destructive environment.

To get away from it all Lasse takes Jonas to their summer house in the Gothenburg Archipelago. Summer house it may be but this is no tropical paradise. It is cool and wind swept with vast expanses of loneliness. Lasse dedicates himself to repairing an old row boat whilst Jonas takes to swimming in nearby lagoons. On a swimming trip he meets the free spirited Helena (Moa Gammel) who is everything that Jonas is not, uninhibited and free of expression this gorgeous Nordic blonde beauty takes an interest in the sad and mysterious Jonas.

Meanwhile, Lasse is re-acquainted with old friends Simon and Lotta. Though all smiles on the surface the couple are secretly unhappy and Lotta is drawn to Lasse feeling, like Helena, that she too might be able to heal the damaged boy/man.

Guilt, anger and inconsolable grief rise to the surface when the grandparents arrive to visit, with granddad having a strong mission to destabilise Lasse to justify taking hold of Jonas.

Suddenly is no romantic comedy. The love stories on show are at times as cool and stark as the environment. The pace of the film is deliberately slow though it is constantly engaging and cinematographer Hendrick Stenberg captures the island as bleak but beautiful. Performances are uniformly excellent. Nyqvist creates a man so lost in grief that smiles seem a distant memory. Young Soulis plays a damaged teenager with deadly accuracy. Moa Gammel is both nurturing and elusive as the island's spirit. Stories of deep grief are never comfortable viewing but Suddenly is a quality film which bodes well for the future of writer/director Brisinger.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   Suddenly was shot on 35mm film and projected cinematically at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The DVD transfer approximates this aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

This recent film looked excellent on the big screen and the DVD transfer has captured that quality. The image is crisp and clear. There are no compression problems with the transfer and only the merest hint of edge enhancement on some scenes.

The quality of the print used for the transfer is excellent and free of blemishes. The overall look of the film edges towards washed out but it never looks anything but accurate to this cool location. The colours are well defined and the flesh tones are suitably pale.

The subtitles are burned in to the print but otherwise perfectly acceptable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

  The sound for Suddenly is Swedish Dolby digital 2.0 running at 224Kb/s.

The dialogue appears to be in audio sync.

The film is really all about the centre channel and the sound is perfectly adequate for this chamber piece of a movie.

Music is supplied via a plaintive piano and violins score as well as some Swedish 60's sounding pop songs. The songs are pretty much (intentionally I think) horrendous and I sympathised when Lasse, in a key scene, snapped up the radio and dashed it into lifelessness.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

The only real extra on this DVD is the theatrical trailer which is displayed in a letterbox 1.85:1 display.

Trailer

Some trailers for other Madmen releases.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Information about other DVD releases of this film are a little hard to come by. Amazon UK suggests that a Swedish version of the film has a bunch of extras including 5.1 sound, alternative footage, commentary, deleted scenes, featurette, interactive menu, scene access, trailers.

I suspect that if these extras exist they are not sub-titled. Non-Swedish speaking buyers should go for Region 4.

Summary

    Suddenly is a serious but ultimately life affirming film that is quietly but continuously engaging.

This DVD is a worthwhile purchase for those fans of Scandinavian cinema and anyone who is prepared to give their dramas ample time to bear fruit.

The DVD sound and vision are excellent however the lack of extras is a disappointment.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Friday, August 07, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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