REVIEW: The Commune (2016)

International Release Poster - Nordisk Film
International Release Poster – Nordisk Film

The following is a quick review of Thomas Vinterberg’s The Commune (Danish Title: Kollektivet).

The Commune takes place in Denmark in the 1970s and it follows Erik (played by Ulrich Thomsen) – a lecturer who teaches architecture – and Anna (played by Trine Dyrholm) – a television newsreader – who are married to each other and have a young daughter named Freja (played by Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen).

When Erik inherits a large family house, Anna suggests that they could invite friends in to live with them, as that would be the only way for them to afford to live there. Erik somewhat reluctantly accepts, but soon he feels like he has lost his connection to his wife. Soon their relationship takes a turn for the worse. 

This film got my attention when I heard that Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm were teaming up again. You see, Vinterberg and Lindholm have made – what I believe is – the best Danish film ever made: The Hunt, starring Mads Mikkelsen as a man who is wrongly accused of having sexually abused a kindergartener.

Sadly, The Commune isn’t as powerful as The Hunt. Here we have a somewhat trite and predictable story that doesn’t need to be told. In fact, I wouldn’t really recommend this film if it weren’t for the performances.

Danish A-list actors like Ulrich Thomsen and Lars Ranthe give impressive performances, but the only spectacular thing about The Commune is Trine Dyrholm’s performance. Dyrholm works wonders with an unremarkable story and she is the highlight of the film. One scene in particular, wherein Erik tells her character that he’s done something wrong, is absolutely fantastic because of Dyrholm’s ability as one of Denmark’s very best actresses.

The Commune isn’t a must-watch film, and it isn’t the film you might imagine it is based purely on the title. While the friends and acquaintances play a part in the film, their parts aren’t as significant as one might imagine. No, The Commune is a much more intimate story about a married couple trying to spice things up only to realize their mistake a bit too late.

7.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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