Reconstruction

on September 10, 2004 by Susan Green
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Novelists and filmmakers are essentially puppeteers toying with the human psyche. In "Reconstruction," Danish director/co-writer Christoffer Boe makes no bones about his absolute power to control characters. He boldly brandishes a postmodern stewardship in crafting this dreamscape about the oldest game in the book: love. The people onscreen dwell in alternate universes, but it's his rearrangement of them that counts as the story unfolds with Dogma-like production values. "Watch him," an unidentified narrator instructs us when Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) comes into view during the picture's opening sequence. We have little choice, of course. Audiences are eager to be manipulated.

One evening in not-so-wonderful Copenhagen, Alex abruptly ditches his attractive girlfriend Simone (Maria Bonnevie) to follow a ravishingly beautiful blonde stranger. Or have they somehow already met in another dimension? She is Aimee (also Bonneville, to provide a playful identity twist), married to a successful and rather depressive older author named August (Krister Henriksson). It might be his voice narrating; the book he's writing has a plot that sounds suspiciously like the romantic betrayal we witness. Viewers must keep track of a narrative that fiddles with chronology because, along the way, Boe presents these lost souls in several possible versions of the truth.

When Alex and Aimee indulge in one night of passion, the punishment is swift. His world turns upside down the next day. Nobody recognizes him, not even Simone, and his apartment has simply disappeared, leaving only a small door reminiscent of the "Being John Malkovich" portal. Nonetheless, he's willing to risk everything to live happily ever after with this potential new partner. Or is he? Kaas has craggy good looks that suggest many dark recesses in his complex persona. Watch him, indeed. "Reconstruction" exposes the duality within even as it acknowledges how fickle fate can truly be. Starring Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Maria Bonnevie, Krister Henriksson and Ida Dwinger. Directed by Christoffer Boe. Written by Christoffer Boe and Mogens Rukov. Produced by Tine Grew Pfeiffer. A Palm release. Romantic drama. Danish-language, Swedish-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 89 min

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