Director: Mark Raso
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 7.5/10
Mark Raso’s Copenhagen is your typical fish out of water story about a guy in a foreign place who falls in love with a 14-year-old after discovering his long lost grandfather is a Nazi and being deserted by his best friend. Okay, maybe it isn’t such a typical fish out of water story at all. What Copenhagen definitely is, is an interesting journey of self-discovery set in a beautiful city.
Gethin Anthony plays William, a self-entitled asshole in his late twenties who travels to Denmark in order to deliver a letter from his recently deceased father to his estranged grandfather. William is a dick of the highest caliber, using women, alienating his best friend, Jeremy (Sebastian Armesto), and just a generally awful human being.
It’s not till Jeremy abandons him and he is introduced to the young Effy (Frederikke Dahl Hansen) that his life begins to take an unexpected turn. He begins to fall for the young girl as she helps him track down his grandfather, all the while frolicking through the city streets like a classic French New Wave film. It’s the type of film that feels slightly unbelievable that this series of events can happen at just the right time to make William see the err of his ways. It’s presented in such a way however, that it doesn’t feel too overwrought or melodramatic like many of these romantic tales tend to be.
After falling in love with Effy, William finds out she’s only 14 years old, which results in an entirely new set of problems for him to process. He had previously admitted to her that he had never been in love and she was the first person who he really let his guard down for. As if being alone in a country where you don’t speak the language in order to find your Nazi grandfather wasn’t heavy enough, he must now contend with the fact that the only woman he can connect with on an emotional level is a child.
Copenhagen is an extremely well shot, well acted, coming of age story, and a fantastic feature debut from writer/director Mark Raso. Although I’ve never been to Copenhagen, I feel like I know the area well after seeing this film. Like Before Sunrise, it’s the type of love story that isn’t necessarily conventional and the location is just as much of a character as the actors, which is done to great effect in this film. We need more indies like this that rely on the script, the performances, and the location to propel the story rather than focusing on star power.