Submarino: What’s Past is Prologue

Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.

As rightfully said above by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the more we grow old, the stronger memories of the past get to come back and haunt us if somethings went into the wrong direction. The direction that wasn’t in plans nor dreams, one might say. Even more tragic events may transpire, and one may not be able to cope with the life as thought to be done so.

Adapted from the novel by Jonas T. Bengtsson, Submarino, that eloquently takes its name from a kind of torture method used in prisons in which the prisoners are hanged upside down while their faces are shoved into a bucket of water, tells an entangled, yet carefully crafted story of two damaged brothers who just have not been able to get it together since they had faced such traumatic situations during childhood.

It all starts beneath a white sheet where Nick and his brother are taking care of their little ones for the last time they can. Next, we are dragged into the future when Nick, dealing with his alcoholism after getting released from the prison, runs across his brother, who is a single father and also dealing with heroin addiction, in their mother’s funeral, who was a drug addict before as well. Stumbling through the steps in life they have been taking separately in life, as much as they try to change things the way they know, all that is water under the bridge now.

One of the most respectfully known Scandinavian directors, Thomas Vinterberg works with Charlotte Bruus Christensen as he usually does for the cinematography of the film and theme they created for the movie is as powerful as the story itself. Succinctly actings brought by Jakob Cedergen and Peter Plaugborg as the grownup versions of the brothers provide the help build empathy for the characters and be invested in the reality of the world the story takes in. Though, two siblings’ having an encounter in funeral stories have been told for many times, Submarino achieves to stand out amongst others with its honesty in the way of storytelling.

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