By James Secker
What makes a person truly evil? This is just one of the various questions asked to the audience in this Danish psychological thriller from Director Jesper W. Nielsen (Borgen). Based on the best selling novel by Christian Jungersen, The Exception deals with paranoia, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder and the lengths people will go to for obsession.
Iben, Malene, Anne-Lise and Camilla are four women working together in a small NGO in Copenhagen where they are marked by power struggles, rumours and alliances. When Iben and Malene each receive death threats they start to suspect a Serbian war criminal, of whom they have been writing articles about. However, when a case of bullying in the office escalates, they slowly begin to wonder if the evil comes from within their own ranks.
Amanda Collin (Raised by Wolves), Danica Curcic (The Absent One), Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Duke of Burgundy) and Lene Maria Christensen (Small Town Killers) give great performances as the four main leads who are caught in a web of deceit. On the technical side: Nielsen directs confidently but there’s not alot of creativity on display here. He also can’t help but be bogged down by the lacklustre script he’s been handed, it failed to hook me in the way it wanted to. There are points in the film where it feels its trying too hard to ask the audience to invest.
It’s Henrik Lindstrand’s score that sells the mystery and pain with the well needed added tension, playing right up until the big reveal in the violent final act. The biggest problem the film faces is the pacing: It’s nearly two hours long and takes about forty minutes before we are engaged in the plot and it’s characters.
The Exception is a film filled with quality performances but it unfortunately suffers from runtime issues and a middle-of-the-road script.
Available now on all major UK digital platforms from Parkland Entertainment.