Danish director Ole Bornedal – who directed the brilliant thriller Nightwatch, and is now attached to adapt Dean Koontz’s book The Husband for the screen – directed Just Another Love Story in 2007. It was recently picked up for U.S. home video distribution by Koch Lorber, after getting rave reviews on the festival circuit. The film tells the savagely original tale of Jonas, a family man who has grown increasingly disheartened with both his career as a crime scene photographer and his personal life, who is willingly uprooted from his stale suburban existence, following a vicious car accident he feels responsible for causing.
The accident occurs after his family vehicle stalls one day while driving to work, and Jonas and his wife are nearly rear-ended by a mysterious young woman named Julia, who swerves to avoid their vehicle, thereby crashing head-on with oncoming traffic. This accident sequence exhibits Ole Bornedal’s power as a director. He uses an artistic noir style, to take the audience inside the car with Julia, just before and during the collision, as she seems intoxicated by a recent trauma at the hands of her violent and criminal boyfriend, Sebastian. The viewer immediately knows that the accident was waiting to happen – if not because of Jonas’ car trouble – because of some other distraction.
After she is rushed to the hospital, a concerned Jonas makes a special trip to check in on Julia, and finds her comatose in her hospital bed, surrounded by her family. Having never met Julia’s boyfriend Sebastian, and not knowing about the extreme volatility of the relationship, her family mistakenly assumes that Jonas is the man they’ve all heard so many good things about.
Jonas, filled with guilt, a desire for anything but his daily indolence, along with an unhealthy curiosity about the mysterious woman, steps into the role of Sebastian for the time being, unaware of Julia’s and the real Sebastian’s violent history. His ruse grows complicated when Julia awakens with amnesia, and a mysterious figure begins shadowing Jonas’ every move, starting a series of events that turn Jonas’ life upside down.
The ironically titled Just Another Love Story, is anything but just another story. Intricately woven with exceptional dialogue, realistic acting, hard-hitting suspense and solid filmmaking, Bornedal boldly defies traditional genre confines with a unique style that grows ever more confident with each project.
If you love film, and want to watch something original and truly entertaining, you need to watch Ole Bornedal’s Just Another Love Story.
My only complaint with the DVD presentation, was the nearly complete lack of behind-the-scenes or bonus features. I would have enjoyed finding out more about the filmmaking process. As such, all we get is the original trailer for the film, which gives away far too much of the storyline. But even without the extras, this film is well worth a view.
Writer/Director: Ole Bornedal
Cast: Anders W. Berthelsen, Rebecka Hemse, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Charlotte Fich, Dejan Cukic