Dark and engaging, Fear Me Not is a psychological thriller and also an excellent character study. It hits fast and it hits hard, especially if you’re going or nearing your midlife crisis. Hey Sweden! They’re not Swedish Mac, they’re Danish! They’re fucking Danish… Although I labeled it as a thriller, it’s much more than that, it’s also a drama and a horror, all wrapped into one delicious and scary package. I could talk about how the script, acting, and sets are just perfect but I don’t want to bore you. Although I cannot resist mentioning beautiful shots of the Danish countryside that look simply mesmerizing. And also kind of depressive.
You might think that Fear Me Not is just another thriller dealing with men who go crazy when they turn forty but I assure you it’s not. Yes, the story is somewhat familiar but the execution and the way the characters are developed is stellar. Of course, Ulrich Thomsen as Mikael stole the show here with his simmering and nuanced performance. He made this movie a visceral experience that stays with you. Existential dread and subsequent depression have been spreading for several decades now and it’s time we talk about it. And I will skip the whole usual “they are rich and can afford all this” rant as this is Denmark we’re talking about.
There comes a time in your life when you realize that you need to change something. Mikael is 42 years old and he’s slowly entering his midlife crisis determined to beat it. He takes time off work and when his doctor friend suggests that he participates in the new drug study he immediately says yes. Experimental anti-depressants were just the thing he ordered and as he begins the tests so does his own trial begins…
Dealing with many subjects like depression, control, our urges, and many more, Fear Me Not strikes at the core of what it is to be human. Deeply engaging and thought-provoking, it leaves all the conclusions to the viewer. This is such a relief and a pleasure, especially after Hollywood spoon-feed-me-emotions-and-conclusions movies. I felt like a rusted motor beginning that’s slowly starting up while thinking about Mikael or me. The secret is that they’re the same. With impeccable pacing and an intriguing story, you just have to check out this movie.
Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, check out Another Round starring Mads Mikkelsen. Instead of an experimental drug, Mads opted for good old alcohol. Le Grand Bain also deals with similar subjects only using a bit more casual and upbeat approach. And to complete our tour of European midlife crisis movies we have glorious Suntan coming to us from Greece. Enjoy.
Director: Kristian Levring
Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen, Kristian Levring
Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Paprika Steen, Emma Sehested Høeg, Lars Brygmann, Ole BoisenStine Stengade
Fun Facts: The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was produced by Zentropa