It seems that Scandinavia has been obsessed with releasing films that portray the Second World War, particularly in the last decade. The Norwegian film Returning Home is a refreshing war film that instead focuses on the seriousness of mental health among returning solders from Afghanistan, and for a small film it sure packs a powerful message.
- Domestic Premiere: 27th February 2015
- International Premieres:
- Sweden: 3rd February 2016 (Goteborg Film Festival)
Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken is one of the up and coming stars of Norwegian cinema.
Simple, beautiful and the two brothers are captivating in their search for their father.
A simple but excellent Norwegian film set in the beautiful northern landscape.[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]
The film follows two brothers – Oscar (Åsmund Høeg) and Fredrik (Fredrik Grondahl), who live alone with their mother while their father is in Afghanistan. When their father returns home, an awkward dinner scene shows that he instantly struggles to settle back into the role of parent, and the next morning he announces he is going on a hunting trip. Failing to return, the two brothers – both of which are teenagers – set out to find their father and bring him home.
Director Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken does an outstanding job of portraying the relationship between the two brothers. While it is the fathers story that makes up the films starting point and dramatic redemption, the central story and true success of the film is the rapid maturation these two brothers have to go through, and their willingness to accept their father for who he is. There is no doubt that the film is about a story of loss and courage. Mental health is an important theme, but it seems Returning Home only scratches the surface of the topic, instead focusing on this brotherly relationship. The only shot that really portrays this message is the final shot, where the younger brother wears army makeup and has teary eyes.
The film is stunningly beautiful, and was shot on Super 35mm which works well. Returning Home is a very simple film, but the story is never dull and the two brothers make the film very watchable. It’s an excellent debut from Dahlsbakken, and it is exciting to think about what he’ll bring us in the future.