Living in the battleground of the notorious Northwest suburb of Copenhagen really doesn’t give 18 year old Casper (Gustav Dyekjaer Giese) much of a chance of a normal, decent life. Needing to support his family, petty crime and working for the local crime boss, Jamal provides that support. However, when a new rival crime boss shows up on the scene and see’s the potential in Casper, he offers him a way to climb the criminal ladder while flashing the cash. What other choice does Casper have but to switch sides. It was never going to be that easy though, his decision causes an all out war with horrific consequences which threatens not only him but the welfare and safety of his family too.
Yes this may be a foreign language film with subtitles but don’t let that put you off! This film is directed by the award-winning Michael Noer, whose first film R won several prizes marking him as one of the most talented directors of our day. NorthWest is only his second feature film but boy is it a bit of a cracker. Even though this is a movie it has that documentary type feel about it, following Casper’s every move, and whilst this character does not give out much emotion in his words you feel them in his actions. From the tenderness and fierce passion of love he has for his family to being that hard case nutter that will do anything to provide for them…. Well almost anything as the film will prove where there is one stomach churning moment which see’s Casper actually need to discard of his underwear.
Here comes the criticism, in places it could be really slow and considering it’s a modern day “gangster” crime drama the action and momentum did drop off from time to time, which may leave you slightly distracted but something of intrigue will happen and your quickly drawn back in. The whole ambience of this film is quite raw, gritty, gripping and quite frankly pretty brutal, it gives you that insight that not everyone’s life is hunky dory and surrounded in rose petals and candy. It opens the gate into a world you may not be familiar with, to see exactly how some of the impoverished live, not just in Denmark but worldwide.
The performances of the actors in NorthWest is pretty much faultless, in the lead role you have Gustav Dyekjaer Giese, whom is actually a newcomer to the game. This is also the case for the kid who plays his brother Andy, Oscar Dyekjaer Giese; yes you guessed it they are actually brothers in real life too. This add’s to the chemistry between the two actors making every last bit of their performances extremely believable as siblings. Also part of the cast is the Scottish-Danish Rapper Nicolas Westwood Kidd AKA KIDD. He doesn’t have a major speaking part but add’s nicely to the whole storyline. To be frank every single member of the cast do not disappoint.
NorthWest is a real, honest, brutal story of how one man will do anything to support and protect his family, no matter what consequences may lay ahead when life has dealt you a bad hand from the beginning. A totally entertaining and gripping drama.
NorthWest is out in cinemas on the 25th July and see’s a simultaneous release on DVD, On Demand and Digital three days later on the 28th July.