TERRIBLY HAPPY

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

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 gets 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 disappeared bicycle repair man is the least of Officer Hansen’s worries during his stay, as he begins a tryst with a local named Ingerlise (Lene Maria Christensen). He must also answer to her well-known (among the townsfolk) abusive husband, Jorgen (Kim Bodnia), eventually leading to a binge drinking competition that 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 involves a cow that sinks in the swamp, only to later resurface pregnantly, 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 endless twists and turns, “Terribly Happy” rises above its minimal box office expectations.

RELEASE DATE
February 1, 2010

DIRECTOR
Henrik Ruben Genz

WRITTEN BY
Henrik Ruben Genz
Dunja Gry Jensen

BASED ON
“Frygtelig lykkelig”
by Erling Jepsen

STUDIO
Oscilloscope Laboratories

NOT RATED

CRIME
DRAMA
THRILLER
90 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Jørgen Johansson

COMPOSER
Kaare Bjerkø

EDITOR
Kasper Leick

CAST
Jakob Cedergren
Lene Maria Christensen
Kim Bodnia
Lars Brygmann
Anders Hove
Jens Jørn Spottag
Henrik Lykkegaard
Bodil Jørgensen

PRODUCED BY
Tina Dalhoff
Thomas Gammeltoft

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