Mifune review

Copenhagen yuppie Kresten (Berthelsen) has got his social circle sussed. But his honeymoon with his boss' daughter is shattered when told of his father's sudden death. Forced to return to the rundown farm and hick life-style he's kept secret since his childhood, and unable to care for his retarded brother Rud (Asholt), his quick-fix solution is to place an ad for a housekeeper. Liva (Hjejle) appears to be the ideal applicant, but her own secret past soon flings some fresh chaos into Kresten's pastoral jumble...

Unlike the bleakness of its two predecessors Festen and The Idiots, Kragh-Jacobsen's Dogme addition is a surreal misfit love story fused into a sweetly twisted farce. Purists have pointed out that Kragh-Jacobsen has tampered with the manifesto's rigid Vow Of Chastity (samurai pipes lace the soundtrack and you could argue Kresten's mobile phone is as much a prop prompter for superficial action as a man bursting into the room with a gun). But rules are there to be broken. After all, if Dogme's ambition is to "force the truth out of its character and settings", then Mifune is a huge success.

With the romance between Berthelsen and Hjejle pumping at the film's heart, the fault-ridden characters of the faultless ensemble radiate oddball empathy. That the climax manages to maintain an eccentric edge while remaining undeniably moving is testament to Mifune's perfectly pitched performances. As irresistible as it is original, and shot with a jitter-free dusky orange glow, the end result exudes a screwy tenderness that's all its own. All that, and the best rug-pissing scene this side of The Big Lebowski.

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