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Release Date
February 1, 2010
Director
Henrik Ruben Genz
Screenplay
Henrik Ruben Genz
Dunja Gry Jensen
Based On A Novel By
Erling Jepsen
Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Not Rated
90 minutes

Terribly Happy

Who wouldn’t be “terribly happy” after having a nervous breakdown, pulling a gun on the mother of your child and being exiled to a desolate town where the sinkhole bog is the least of your worries compared to the deranged inhabitants of the city? Robert Hansen (Jakob Cedergren) is playing the hand that is dealt to him with that exact scenario in this offbeat German (English subtitled) drama.

One of the opening sequences sets the mood for the entire film. Officer Hansen is dropped off in the middle of nowhere and upon his unwelcoming arrival, he finds his bike has a flat tire. Naturally, he heads down to the local bike shop, where he finds a door ajar and no occupants. A woman passing by informs him that the repairman recently went missing. Hansen questions the bizarreness of this notion and the woman responds that disappearances are a normality in the small town. The missing bicycle repair man is least of Officer Hansen’s worries during his stay, as he begins a tryst with a local named Ingerlise (Lene Maria Christensen) and must answer to her well-known (among the townsfolk) abusive husband, Jorgen (Kim Bodnia), eventually leading to a binge drinking competition that even makes the viewer nauseous.

There is nothing sensational about Terribly Happy. However, its off kilter and definitive nature draws most of its interest. The looming bog allows for several thrilling moments and an unexpected end. The story told at the start of the film involving a cow that sinks in the bog, only to later resurface pregnant, truly hooks you into this bizarre world ruled by the eccentric townsfolk. The wide shots of the open fields are not only awe-inspiring but establish the deserted feeling experienced by Hansen. Complete with a flawed main character and continuous twists and turns, Terribly Happy ends up rising above its minimal box office expectations.

 

 

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