In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of black boys, aged 12-14, robbed other children on about 70 occasions between 2006-2008. The thieves used an elaborate scheme called the ‘brother trick’, involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric.
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Brave, bold, and powerful. Nobody in the United States would dare make a film like this. Complex, clever, and multi-layered. Hints of Gus Van Sant (Elephant) and Michael Haneke (Benny's Video). One of the best films of the year.
The camera work reminded me a lot of that in the movies of Roy Andersson, and here too it served the purpose well. The static frames made you feel helpless and cowardly, as were all the bystanders in the movie of whom no-one interfered with the portrayed bullies and their victims. Which of course happens all the time in real life. This movies makes you ask questions about yourself, and only truly great movies do that
Östlund loves modulating your comfort levels. Given Sweden's xenophobia, this movie – about devious, cruel little black children victimizing white children – seems clearly racist. But what Östlund keeps throwing into the mix makes it increasingly more complicated than that. Add in the unremitting stare of the detached, long takes, and the movie ends up forcing you to look at your own uncomfortable notions about race.
as far as the whole bullying theme went, it was done terribly. this film depicts kids going on a wild goose chase to literally nowhere. i would say the camera work was well done but even that was horrible. the lingering after shots were a bore and probably would have cut this movie in half. if anything the movie makes you ask yourself why you wasted 124 minutes watching it.
and besides the story: nobody seemed to be acting! great performances filmed. I found the introductory curtains where nothing happens os slowly strat happening, really helpful in letting you in the new set.
The film is especially effective because the subjects are teenagers. I thought that the cinematography was very effective and played an important role in establishing the overall dreary and independent feel of the film. I believe that Ostlund made the film for people to interpret cultural stigmas and divides using a controversial scenario of racial and class driven juvenile crime.