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Community horrors

OUT NOW! Thomas Vinterberg retreads familiar ground in THE COMMUNE, but a solid performance by Trine Dyrholm keeps it well-anchored and enjoyable to watch.

After the well-received if troubled adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, Dogma 95 standard bearer Thomas Vinterberg returns to his native Denmark and revisits some signature themes with a dryly comic and semi-autobiographical account of his upbringing in a Copenhagen commune in the 1970s. Dyrholm plays Anna, a newscaster whose husband Erik (Thomsen) has just inherited the family home. Anna wishes to form a commune in the grand old building so, despite Erik’s apprehensions, they do. It goes against his grain at first, but Erik decides to embrace this new freedom. He even goes so far as to start an affair with a younger student who, to Anna’s horror, ends up living amongst them. Meanwhile, the daughter of the two begins her own experiments and soon a new normalcy is formed. The director has long harboured a misanthropic fascination with despicable characters and Thomsen’s Erik is the latest to fit that mould: a selfish, hypocritical patriarch who would only work to further infuriate the viewer were it not for Dyrholm’s sympathetic performance in the lead role. Anna’s a bit of a doormat at times, but her suffering drops an anchor of realism from Vinterberg’s otherwise comically cynical show. 

The Commune (Die Kommune) | Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands 2016) with Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen. Starts Apr 21.