Sons of Denmark – Danmarks sonner (2019)
Directed by: Ulaa Salim | 120 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Zaki Youssef, Mohammed Ismail Mohammed, Imad Abul-Foul, Rasmus Bjerg, Ivan Alan Ali, Asil Mohamad Habib, Morten Holst, Morten Holst, Ali Hussein, Olaf Johannessen, Özlem Saglanmak
Colliding worlds often lead to a lot of misery. Sad perhaps, but ideal film material. This is also the case in the Danish political thriller ‘Sons of Denmark’. In it, two explosive worlds face each other: a group of radical Muslims and the followers of a neo-Nazi organization. The Muslim radicals want to carry out an attack on the nationalist politician Martin Nordahl. The neo-Nazis want to make Denmark Muslim-free. And in this they are supported by… Martin Nordahl.
This exciting premise leads to a thrilling film, with attacks, infiltration, conspiracies and other exciting things. In terms of plot and suspense, ‘Sons of Denmark’ has succeeded well. What the makers also do well is show what happens when militant activists align themselves with political parties. The history books are full of the misery that comes from this, but we don’t see this often in movies.
That doesn’t make ‘Sons of Denmark’ a great film. The makers may wish to appear objective in their portrayal of radicalisation, but in practice the focus is one-sided. Where the Muslim terrorism is shown dry and unmoved, the actions of the neo-Nazis are accompanied by a lot of blood, drama, tears and noise. Including the wavy wails of Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’ (up to three times). Moreover, the Muslim terrorists are shown as off-track idealistic good-for-nothings, while the neo-Nazis are portrayed as badly-cut crazies.
That one-sided view of radicalization only really comes in in the second half of the film. Then the caricatural characters start to disturb, not only within the neo-Nazi organization, but also in the portrayal of the failing police apparatus. You will also notice that there are quite a few improbabilities in the plot. They undermine both the thriller and the message.
For example, ‘Sons of Denmark’ has become a half-successful film. Passed as a political thriller, failed miserably as an engaged drama. What could have been a nuanced film for a broad and open-minded audience is now no more than a sermon for its own parish. A sermon that should also have more effect than content. Sin.