Daybreak review

It’s darkest before the dawn, a truism that feels apt in this gloomy drama from writer-director Bjorn Runge. The winner of three Swedish Oscars, it’s a Dogme-style potboiler that sees three unconnected families reach crisis point over the course of one eventful night.

In one strand, a philandering heart surgeon sees his middle-class world crumble around him. In another, a spurned wife takes her ex and his much younger new squeeze hostage. In the third and most bizarre plotline, a bricklayer is hired by an ageing racist and his wife to seal them inside their home.

Superlatively acted by a cast that includes Pernilla August, aka Darth Vader’s mum, this is potent, Bergman-esque stuff that leaves a strong and lasting impression. That said, you’ll also leave with a headache and a firm conviction never to visit Scandinavia for as long as you live.

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