RECONSTRUCTION

NR
Reviews

If we could not hear the lovers' dialogue that permeates Reconstruction, we might swear we were in the middle of a perfume commercial set in Copenhagen. Magnificently-if a bit self-consciously-photographed, this tale of urban romantics offers shocks, conundrums, reversals and rejections galore. A non-linear depiction of four people-a photographer, Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kass); his sweet and simple girlfriend, Simone (Maria Bonnevie); a novelist, August (Krister Henriksson), and his neglected wife, Aimee (Bonnevie again, with a much more sophisticated hairdo and wardrobe)-is in phases confusing, surreal and bizarre…and even, at times, conventional.

Alex takes his camera everywhere, and inevitably catches the gorgeous Aimee in his lens. Faster than a speeding shutter, he falls madly in love. A few minutes later he abandons Simone, his pretty girlfriend, in a subway in order to chase Aimee, who is instantly responsive to his overtures. Thus, Simone loves Alex who loves Aimee who returns his love although married to August.

Alas, while writer-director Christoffer Boe attempts to come up with ever novel ways of shooting these lovelorn characters, he cannot find much more business to occupy them than smoking. So much of Reconstruction finds our leads happily puffing away that one worries for the future health of Scandinavia.

Throughout the film, Manual Alberto Claro's photography insists upon finding audacious ways to present a terribly modern though rather sterile Copenhagen. In production designer Martin de Thurah's geometric vision, Denmark's capital begins to look like an intricate Rubik's cube. The filmmakers' cinematic experiments become hit-and-miss. For instance, the scene in which Alex and Aimee first sleep together is all fits and starts, abstract close-ups of dual nudity that is meant to suggest heavy passion but instead results in jerky ellipses. On the other hand, the staccato rhythm present in the park sequence when Alex's father, Mel (Peter Steen), angrily refuses to recognize his son is masterful.

Reconstruction may be interpreted in a variety of ways, but as only Alex's life truly changes one wonders if he is not, in a very personal way, being punished for his imagination. On the other hand, given Bonnevie's extraordinary beauty, he may be forgiven impulsive behavior. The same cannot be said for Boe and Mogens Rukov's script, which never quite rids itself of stereotypes and clichs, although that seems to be the whole purpose of the film. Bookended by a corny magician performing a floating cigarette trick, Reconstruction offers not much more than a snazzy-looking but ultimately empty experiment.

-Bruce Feld