The Exception (15)
- Credit: Kata Vermes
Directed by Jesper W. Nielsen. Starring Danica Curcic, Amanda Collin, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Lene Maria Christensen, Olaf Johannessen, Magnus Krepper. In Danish with subtitles. Available VOD from January 22. Running time:101 mins.
This Danish thriller rooted in workplace bullying among a group of four women working at an Institute for Genocide Research is a sombre exploration of human morality, with a streak of hysteria running through it.
Written by Christian Torpe, creator of TV drama The Mist, and directed by men, it's possibly the most male chauvinist film made since the 70s. These are highly-educated, dedicated women who'll scratch each other's eyes out at the least provocation. So, when two of them receive threatening e-mails the obvious initial suspect, a Serbian war criminal, is quickly replaced by the new woman in the office (Knudsen) who none of them likes.
In the 21st century, it is perfectly reasonable to explore the nature of morality and what makes human beings behave monstrously in a gripping whodunnit with plenty of red herrings and neat twists.
Some may argue that it is in bad taste, that it trivialises major themes but thanks to some strong performances the mix of high-minded and cheap who-can-you-trust suspense, this works rather well. The occasional jarring moment may actually add to the tension.