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As It Is in Heaven (DVD Review)

1 Feb, 2010 By: Mike Clark

Street 2/2/10
$29.95 DVD
Not rated.
In Swedish with English subtitles.
Stars Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjoholm.

Seeking inner peace, a renowned symphony conductor (Michael Nyqvist) returns to the Swedish village where childhood bullies once pummeled him — only to be cajoled into leading a church choir of oddballs and upsetting a closed community’s rhythm.

Enjoyable — though at times, this foreign-language Oscar nominee from 2004 seems like another of those humanistic feel-good imports that Oscar frequently nominates for foreign-language feature in its sleep. Yet, despite the movie’s high whacky (also whack-o) quotient, there’s darkness at its core.

Think of the rigid religiosity you often find in Ingmar Bergman or Carl Dreyer films — then add a dose of loopy whimsy out of Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero.

From its memorably bloody opening and closing shots, the story isn’t easily pegged, though there is that familiar fixture of Swedish cinema: the so-called Nordic blonde tomboy (Frida Hallgren) whose natural resources surprise the hero in her obligatory nonchalant skinny-dipping scene.

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