Danish film-maker Ulaa Salim’s provocative debut tackles the rise of the far right with more righteous passion than many similar films this year. Beginning with the swift radicalisation of 19-year-old Zakaria (Mohammed Ismail Mohammed) in the wake of a series of Islamophobic attacks across Copenhagen, Salim emphasises the tender age of the so-called “terrorists”. Babyfaced Zakaria’s mum still makes him a packed lunch. The film then shifts its focus to double agent Malik (Zaki Youssef), tasked with exposing the white supremacist hate group Sons of Denmark.
Meanwhile, an election is looming and nationalist candidate Martin Nordhal (Rasmus Bjerg) is gaining in the polls. “Why should foreigners work when we pamper them?” he asks, promising forced repatriation of Muslims in order to preserve the country’s values. Bjerg is chilling in his credibility, delivering Nordhal’s abhorrent views with polite calm. “What fanatical neo-Nazis have to do with me is nothing,” he declares, while masked vigilantes empowered by his speechifying put severed pig’s heads on brown people’s doorsteps, writing “Go home” in animal blood on their windows. Malik’s superiors inform him that they’re closing the operation on Sons of Denmark because “the real threat is Islamic terrorism”.
On the emotional toll of microaggressions and gaslighting, Salim is incredibly astute. A scene in which Malik takes his five-year-old son to the supermarket feels like it could be from a 1970s crime thriller, with its sickly green tinge and taut sense of threat. Yet the film’s register sometimes becomes cartoonish, its graphic violence and downbeat conclusion hammering the point home too hard.
Source: The Guardian