The Ape [Apan]

"Excellent"

The Ape [Apan] Review


Tantalisingly vague, but packed with witty and sometimes harrowing observations, this artful examination of a very dark soul isn't always easy to watch. But the film's bleak chill is mesmerising.

Krister (Sarri) wakes up in a pool of someone else's blood, then tries to go through his day as if nothing has happened. With his ubiquitous Bluetooth earpiece, he cycles through the city and collects his car from the garage, then heads off to his job as a driving instructor. But his temper soon gets the best of him. He keeps trying to find a sense of balance, but this internal storm of self-loathing, guilt, fear and pain is overwhelming. Even a visit with his mother (Joyce) leaves him shaken.

Yes, this is one of those minimalistic dramas in which not much seems to be happening. And indeed, Sarri's finely tuned performance is a marvel of understatement. In every scene we can see exactly what he's going through even before we understand what has happened. As the picture becomes clearer, the film takes on an unnerving complexity: we really shouldn't be able to sympathise with Krister at all, but we do.

Filmmaker Ganslandt is examining the beast within, that uncontrollable aspect of ourselves that we struggle to keep under control and then, if it gets out, leaves us to clean up the mess. The point is that all of us have the potential for both good and evil, sometimes at the same time. Life is simply not as straightforward as the movies. So Ganslandt continually surprises us with revelations, actions and reactions that we could never predict.

All of this is revealed through the murky settings, layered sound mix and close-up cinematography, finding almost unbearable intensity in the most banal situations. By the end of the film, we can see Krister's mind spinning. And it's intriguing how, even though the film focuses on him with Dardenne-style tightness, the film is still cold and dispassionate. As a result, we vividly feel Krister's utter emptiness. And also that minuscule glimmer of hope, even if no one else will ever let him have a chance for redemption.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Jesper Ganslandt

Producer: Jesper Kurlandsky

Starring: as Krister, Françoise Joyce as Mother, Sean Pietrulewicz as Son, Niclas Gillis as Jonas, Samuel Haus as Jonas' friend, Eva Rexed as Driving school student, Lennart Andersson as Neighbour, Lena Carlsson as Wife, Thore Flygel as Salesman, Anders Johannisson as Man in square, Sonny Johnson as Police

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