Ivan is an insanely optimistic preacher who takes in convicts to help around the remote, rural church he ministers to. His current charges are a psychotic Saudi immigrant addicted to robbing gas stations and an alcoholic t... more »ennis pro convicted of sexual assault. His newest "helper" is Adam, a vicious neo-Nazi anxiously biding his time before he can return to hell-raising. Asked to set a goal for his stay, Adam sarcastically answers that he'd like to bake a cake. Ivan cheerfully takes that statement at face value and puts him in charge of the parish's pride and joy: the only apple tree in the vicinity. Grasping the extent of Ivan's crazed, preternatural determination to look on the bright side of everything - Adam immediately decides to shake him out of his rose-colored stupor.« less
Epic struggle of good and evil in this metaphysical dark com
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 12/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adam, a convicted criminal and skinhead prone to violent rages, is sent to serve out the remainder of his jail sentence in community service at a small town church. The pastor, who refuses to accept -- even in the face of the most plain evidence -- that anyone can possibly be evil, assigns to him a task that seems trivial, until it begins to appear that the very cosmos is conspiring against him. The film explores the classic conflict between faith and reason and between good and evil in the most blunt way imaginable -- by pitting an obstinately naive believer against a stubbornly unrepentant and bitter neo-Nazi -- and completely avoids the pitfalls of predictability.
Adam's Apples manages to be both hilarious and profound, as well as endlessly inventive. Just when you think the stakes can't get any higher, something happens that is utterly unexpected and over the top and in hindsight completely in line with the plot as so far developed. Then the filmmaker ratchets things up a bit more. The mood, alternating between cheerful optimism and deep pessimism, is perfectly sustained by a rich musical score and by the lavish cinematography. This is a finely crafted film.
For those who are familiar with Danish film and especially with the Dogme 95 movement (in which Anders Thomas Jensen was a major contributor), the major actors will be familiar but are playing here gleefully against type. Mads Mikkelsen (yes, the bad guy from Casino Royale) as the pastor; Ulrich Thompson as the overweight convict Nazi, Adam; Parika Steen as a pregnant alcoholic. Every one of the characters is somehow both despicable and extremely likable. This was my favorite film that played at Sundance in 2006, and I have been surprised that it didn't get more widely publicized -- since every audience I saw it with (twice at Sundance and again in Florida) was practically rolling in the aisles and raving afterwards. My sense is that the religious theme, combined with a bit of pretty graphic violence and language, scared critics away and kept it from being widely released. That's a shame since it is a very well-made and very funny movie, that raises intriguing questions anyone with an open mind, whether religious or not, should find important. (in Danish w/ English subtitles)"
Dark, violent, not hilarious, depressing but not all bad
Seeker | New England | 01/20/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I decided that I should write this (somewhat) dissenting opinion because some people may find it useful. To me, and to my husband, this movie is not, by any stretch of the imagination, hilarious or laugh-out-loud funny. I found myself surprised and, yes, amused a few times but it wasn't until the end that I found one moment to be a laugh-out-loud funny surprise. Perhaps it was because the surprise was finally a happy one, and that was such a relief after all that depressing violence and darkness. By the way, I switched to speaking only of my reaction because my husband refused to watch anymore after the cat was shot dead; the pastor was beaten, and kicked, and kicked some more; and then the pastor referred to working on a concentration camp as a "mistake". I tried to explain that the last part was due to the pastor being in deep denial and out of touch with reality but my husband had just had enough. I watched the rest of the movie alone because I was curious to see why 9 out of 9 people on Amazon.com had given it 5 stars. The movie kept getting worse but I admit that the ending pleased me.
Another point that I have to also disagree with the majority about, is how profound or thought-provoking the movie is. I did not find it so. I do not believe that salvation lies only in insane denial nor did this movie make me think about good and evil in any profound ways.
I do agree with another reviewer that the characters are both despicable and likable (though not extremely), and that's how I feel about the movie too.
So you can have an understanding of the source of this review it may be helpful to know that I am not at all religious but do care about morality, and generally enjoy insightful irreverence and iconoclastic art and I do not believe that narrow-mindedness is the reason I gave it 3 stars rather than 5. "
A Most Wonderful and Unexpected Find
V. Koehler | Joliet, IL. USA | 03/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adams Apples is the blackest comedy that I have seen to date. I took a chance on this film not really knowing much about it, expect that is starred Mads Mikkelsen (he is an amazing actor) and that was enough for me.In my opinion he steals the whole movie. This movie is a great find and it really does make you think about good and evil, but in a totally unexpected way.One of the main characters, Ivan, only sees good in everything no matter how screwed up his life is and refuses to see it as anything but perfect becasue God loves him. The other main character,Adam, sees himself as the embodiment of evil and proclaims himself so and sets out to show Ivan that in fact God does not love him and that is why his life is as totally messed up as it is. What follows is the funniest jet black comedy, that keeps on getting blacker and funnier through out some crazy twists and turns. Though do keep in mind this movie is not exactly what we Americans would term politically corret, and that is a very good thing indeed.A movie well worth the subtitles."
Can't believe it took so long
G. Gorman | Denver, Colorado, USA | 12/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this nearly two years ago with Danish fiends and have been waiting for a local version... somehow it took two years.
In full agreement with the first reviewer who wrote with more detail and with greater and more eloquent length than will be here. But this movie is incredibly well-crafted in the stark extremes that are not only brought up but appear to be openly examined to allow the audience the shock of feeling that they should feel this or that based on the conventions that we often imprison ourselves in.
Tendency to think to self: Offense or shame or I-shouldn't be laughing at this, may come to mind at times, but this movie made me feel like it was a litmus test of my own psychological tendencies towards atrophied groupthink.
These moments or debates don't come up enough here; for being a standard U.S. citizen this movie is in the capacity of Eddie Izzard stand-up or Kurt Vonnegut worlds in permitting a vacation of the mind from the daily preoccupations and recycled comments to the matters brought up and discussed and done permitting the viewer to be part, without embarassment but occasionally with a bit of discomfort, for fun... c'est la vie.
And to my favorite Denmarkperson, Skol! "
A. Hartman | Toledo, Ohio USA | 01/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this at the Cleveland Film Festival in 2006, and it is perhaps one of the most brilliantly original films I've ever seen. It has moments of stunning violence -- I literally had both hands clasped over my mouth at times, and heard shocked gasps from those around me, but also has astonishing humor, unexpected insight and one of the most surprising endings in film. This is why I attend film festivals -- if only all films could be so amazing! I hope very much that this becomes available on DVD in a U.S.-friendly format, as I have told so many people about this film and they would all really like to see it."