‘Adam’s Apples’


The melodramas that prolific Anders Thomas Jensen has sculpted over the years have been among the richest works to come out of Scandinavia since Bergman’s heyday. But no road is without its pockmarks and Adam’s Apples may be the low point of the wunderkind’s career. A weirdly atonal miscalculation that might be considered a parody of Winter Light, this stone-faced parable, so obviously and inelegantly predetermined, stares down the confrontation between a neo-Nazi and a Job-like priest as if from the heavens. Serving community service at a countryside church, Adam (Ulrich Thomsen) facetiously promises to priest Ivan (Mads Mikkelsen) that he will bake an apple cake as a personal goal, an agenda that literally proves fruitless when hordes of crows begin to peck at the apples that hang from the church’s tree of knowledge. A noxious, flippant mix of snark and biblical allegory, the film delights in watching Adam cruelly break down Ivan’s faith after the neo-Nazi learns of the vicar’s troubled past. Jensen’s pretense of moral candor is impossible to take seriously because it’s in service of what the film’s one Pakistani character might call “the sake of fuck.”