This is a brilliant neo-noir telling the tale of a frustrated dad who wants more adventure in his life and when he gets it… Well, go and watch the film. Ole Bornedal is a director new to me (he did the English-language Nightwatch (1997), but as writer-director of Just Another Love Story he is clearly a great talent.
Although it’s best described as a neo-noir, it doesn’t particularly have a noir visual style; however there is the femme fatale, a convoluted plot and play on identity and memory. It also references Sunset Boulevard (1950) by having the plot narrated by a dead man (not a spoiler – it’s in flashback) and a character tells us noirs always have mysterious women in them. Although, apart from the protagonist’s demise, it’s not shot as noir the direction is exemplary. Bornedal uses the ‘scope frame beautifully, particularly in the shots of the home when the ‘good woman’, wife of bored Jonas, realises her marriage is struggling. There’s also great use of CGI, for Jonas’ National Geographic fantasies, and possibly the best shot car crash I’ve ever seen.
The soundtrack is also brilliantly manipulated. Often we hear what’s happening in a parallel scene, which ‘comments’ on what we’re seeing. As Jonas falls in love with the mysterious woman, we hear the dialogue with her but see him sitting at a dinner party in his home.
In short: fabulous. I’m going to have to find his other stuff.