On The Edge By Borislav Andjelic

in 51th Taormina Film Festival

by Borislav Andjelic

The striking originality of Danish auteur Ole Christian Madsen, or O.C. as he is known, in his films Pizza King (l999) and Kira’s reason – A Love Story, has already dazzled audiences around the world. His newest film, Angels In Fast Motion, shown in competition at the Taormina FilmFest 2005, proves to be the most gut-wrenching of all. The script written by Madsen and Bo Hr. Hansen, an adaptation of Jacob Ejersbo’s novel, Nordkraft, is an unflinching, bitter story of three young characters, Maria, Allan and Steso, whose drug abuse has led them to the brink of the abyss and who are desperately struggling for survival in an urban community.

Maria is a pusher in relentless search for love which her drug dealer boyfriend is unable to provide her with. Allan, coming back from overseas, wants to start a new life, but the ghosts of the past return to haunt him. And Steso, the most intellectual of all, a kind of prophetic cynic, tries to overcome the gap in his head between his beloved girlfriend and drugs. Wandering restlessly among addicts, abusers and drug dealers, all three try to make sense of their everyday lives, kept on the outskirts of their own families and society, in a search for love which is to bring order and meaning to the madness and chaos they live in. Is there a way out for them?

Angels In Fast Motion is a powerful, if distressing film, that maintains all the freewheeling drive expected from Dogma, combining gripping action with incisive social commentary. In this bold and original film, Madsen explores “the fallen angels” trio, steering his protagonists through the cold and unforgiving world of a modern city with deep affection for their troubled lives.

Madsen brings out the best in his ensemble cast who, through improvisation, are brought to the level of co-creators, creating colorful characters and harsh dialogue. The astonishing performances from the whole cast, Signe Olsen, Thomas L. Cornelliussen, Claus Riis Ostergaard, Thure Lindhardt and others, was recognised by the international jury at the Taormina FilmFest.

Unlike other Dogma films, there is far less “shaky camera” or long takes. Shot in almost documentary style, with the liberated cast to enrich the spontaneity of their performances, Angels in Fast Motion , has the effect of being as close as a plotted narrative can get to a sense of real life. In this visually grim ambience, they are “lost” youngsters in a society reeling on the edge of insanity and fake values. The overwhelming tone of this harsh and bitter story is, nevertheless, is one of hope of redeeming the stolen dreams of these young people.