movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Borgen (TV)


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  Borgen (TV) Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
 
Average Rating
9.56 /10
 
Starring
Sidse Babett Knudsen , Birgitte Hjort Sorensen , Soren Malling
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, Louise Friedberg, Jesper W. Nielsen, Mikkel Norgaard, Annette K. Olesen, Rumle Hammerich, Jannik Johansen, Henrik Ruben Genz,Charlotte Sieling
Written by: Adam Price, Jeppe Gjervig Gram, Tobias Lindholm, Maja Jul Larsen, Jannik Tai Mosholt, Maren Louise Kaehne. Created by Adam Price and Jeppe Gjervig Gram

 
 
 
Released: 2010
   
Genre: DRAMA
SERIES
FOREIGN
   
Origin: Denmark
   
Length: 0
 
 


 
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Borgen is nothing if not relentlessly progressive and often cliche-ridden... You can always guarantee that when a big corporation turns up, the words “capitalist criminals” are being subliminally flashed on the screen. If they’re an oil company the flashing increases in speed and duration and is often accompanied by “murderers” and “environmental despoilers” as well. We get a bit of that in the two episodes where Nyborg decides to bring peace to two warring African nations who are fighting over an oil pipeline. Little Denmark punches above its weight, as Obama said (to every small nation he visited). As for the regular characters themselves they tend to remain just this side of stereotype, except for my favourite, Svend Age Saltum, who is the only one to talk about ordinary people and voice their fears about the wonderful green multikulti society everyone else is so keen to create. Unfortunately, because he’s the leader of the Freedom Party, which is basically conservative (and hence designated “right wing”), he’s presented in the most unflattering light. In fact, he’s a complete caricature: a rustic, gap-toothed, blustering demagogue who, though politically wily, stands for those values only old people espouse, and is therefore out of kilter with the smart young sophisticates of the modern world. The more derision they pour on him the more I like him. The most odious character, however, is Laugesen, an ex-MP, ex-party leader and owner of the nasty Ekspres newspaper, whose face could be used forever as a template for sneering condescension, arrogance, and a vindictive sense of self-entitlement, all shot through with a quivering bitterness that could have been titrated from a decade of Gordon Brown’s bilious resentment. There’s not a trace of human warmth or compassion in him. He’s magnificent. There’s one group of people you don’t get to meet in Borgen: the people. Given the focus of the programme – ie the Danish equivalent of the Westminster bubble – that’s almost inevitable but it’s still telling. There’s an awful lot of pious mouthing about the Denmark “we” want to build; and how “we” want to cherish “our” welfare state, and “we” want to be working towards a “Common Future”, etc. In the realm of political-media doublespeak “we” means those in power; “we” as in “not you, the voters, because you’re too thick to understand”. Inadvertently, Borgen reflects the view that politicians and media have of the populace as mere bit players.
(Michael Blackburn, Fortnightly Review)
The acting and filming seemed fine enough, but for a non-Danish audience, following the ins and outs of their small party politics is always going to be a bit confusing. It's not like here, with Labour and the Tories, or Germany with the Socialists, CDU/CSU etc, or the US, with their Reps and Dems. It's all about relatively small parties, whose names and agendas mean nothing to a non-Dane, trying to make coalition agreements. But the big problem with the programme was that it took the politics of The Killing - where the pro-immigration liberal was bound to be a hero, the obligatory muslim was bound to be innocent, and the trollish racist was bound to be the perpetrator - and didn't have at least initially compelling crime story, or Sarah Lund's jumper. It all started when the heroic liberal politician rejected a - for her - completely unthinkable alliance with a politician who happened to think, as most Danes do, that immigration is not all that good for Denmark. That was bound to be offensive to many viewers. The series will have had very few viewers, but they will all have found the political stance agreeable, and be giving high marks. But the vast majority just won't have liked it, or bothered watching it, or grading it.
(”Apple-eater”, User reviews, Amazon)

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