Friday, February 24, 2006

It's a Mads, Mads, Mads, Mads world


Amid all the kerfuffle about Daniel Craig being too blond for Bond, it's escaped most people's attention that the Casino Royale producers have quietly gone and made one of the best casting decisions in years for their chief villain. If you don't yet know Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (above), you need to. He's an electrifying, soft-spoken presence in every role I've seen him play, and, let's face it, the cheekbones aren't bad either. Mads was the skinhead psycho, Tony, in Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher trilogy — I still haven't seen Pusher 2: With Blood On My Hands, in which he takes the central role, but I just can't wait. He was understated and superb as the kindly doctor, Niels, in Susanne Bier's Open Hearts, a film I eagerly recommend to fans of her overrated Brothers: it's a whole lot better, I promise you. And he had a small role as Tristan in the unfortunate King Arthur. But Casino Royale will hopefully get him the international attention he deserves. If Mads plays his cards right — pun not actually intended — I think he might end up becoming my favourite Bond baddie since the fantastic Famke Janssen in GoldenEye, or maybe even Christopher Walken in A View to a Kill. Anyway, he gives me one reason to be excited about this new movie, and that's one more than zero...

6 comments:

NATHANIEL R said...

gotta love the Danes. and as someone who loved Brothers. Looks like I will have to seek out "Open Hearts"

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I much preferred Brothers to Open Hearts. Brothers was admittedly more high-strung and manipulative (which usually doesn't work on me, but this time it did), but Open Hearts felt a little too much like every other European arthouse picture about people having sex with depressed people who are not their wives. The main reason I ended up giving it a passing grade was indeed the acting, and I thought Mikkelsen's was the strongest of four very strong performances. And yes, he was/is damn hot.

Incidentally, I thought Daniel Craig was the second-best choice for Bond (after Clive Owen, who is still better off tackling more challenging roles). Above all, I believe we should all be grateful that the role didn't go to the wide-eyed, attention hungry writer from Moulin Rouge (Bond needs a bit of enigma, not someone whose dick I've seen about eight times without asking once) or The Boy from Oz.

tim r said...

I like Craig well enough, but it should have been Owen.

Just don't get the Brothers thing, I'm afraid. All that moony cross-cutting. It felt to me like a Danish director going "Look, no Dogme!" and instead copying straight from the Michael Mann Editing Playbook.

Nick Davis said...

I have to chime in as a Brothers fan, just to certify that I am not on Tim's payroll. I thought the acting was terrific all around, especially from Nielsen, and I liked that the contrivances were at least narrative for once, since to my mind you can hardly get more "Look, Ma, no hands!" than Dogme already was. (Is The Celebration or, for chrissakes, The King Is Alive worth anything beyond the self-conscious and abrasive minimalism of the style, which is exactly a quite maximal style, trumpeting its Hobbesian read on "stripped-down" human character till no one's still listening?)

tim r said...

Yay! We can actually have a real live debate here. I'll give you The King is Alive and the rubbish Italian for Beginners, but I think Festen (The Celebration) is close to great, and there was certainly enough going on in it beyond the stripped-down style to make for a deservedly raved-about West End theatre version a couple of years ago. My argument is that good Dogme was like good theatre. The Idiots is essential von Trier, I think, and a conceit that could only have worked with this on-the-hoof aesthetic pushing it where it wanted to go. But the single best case for Dogme as a valid movement (or experiment) is the careful, modest and beautifully acted Open Hearts. Less in it is so much more than more was in Brothers. And all Brothers really does is give you more. More bombastic editing, more music applied like wallpaper, more contrived and clichéd dinner-table spats. The whole thing was just so overripe, the luminous Nielsen notwithstanding. It makes the second best case for Dogme!

NATHANIEL R said...

i agree on THE IDIOTS. i don't think it's close to the best Von Trier but I think it is the KEY Von Trier film if that makes any sense --i wish it were more appreciated. I've never felt like I've understood him better than when i was watching that.