The Danish Director Christina Rosendahl premieres with her second feature film The Idealist after the Youth film Supervoksen from 2006.
The film takes place in the late 1980’s in Aarhus, and is about a young journalist Poul Brink, played by Peter Plaugborg. The film is based on real events and deals with the conspiracies about Thule airbase during the cold war. Poul Brink is a whistle blower who tries to reveal the secrets behind a nuclear disaster that occurred during the cold war.
After the Second World War, Denmark joined NATO in 1949. Greenland was at the time an old Danish colony, and during the Second World War the US secured Greenland’s safety. The US had an interest in using Greenland as a military base and a part of their global network of bases and areas of interest. They offered to buy Greenland from Denmark, but Denmark did not want to sell the colony. Instead they made a pact about the defense on Greenland (The Greenland Treaty).
During the Cold War, Danes and Americans were stationed on the military base and in 1968 there was an American bomber plane-crash on the Air base. During the clean up after the plane-crash a lot of the stationed staff got infected by radioactive radiations. Brink discovers in 1988 that the people who have been stationed on the air-base have been infected by the radioactivity, and are at risk of developing cancer. Throughout the film you follow his journalistic journey to find the truth. He discovers a secret treaty between USA and Denmark and ends up going to jail for publishing classified documents. The documents reveal a 30-year-period of secrecy and illegal conspiracy between Denmark and USA.
The film has a visual mixture between fictional and real stock footage. The director has previously made documentaries and with this feature she combines both worlds and creates a significant story that supports the original. Both supplement each other so reliably that you can be in doubt with what is fake and what is not. The film could have easily been a documentary, but by reconstructing the scenes into fiction, it dramatizes the themes and the actual events. It is a drama so captivating, that it is almost impossible to imagine it has happened for real. The sound design is a genre for itself. It’s electronic, vibrant, alarming and at times frightening. It warns the audience to be prepared and is indeed contributing to an extraordinary sentient experience.
The film criticizes the political system. Using a journalist and his true story as a narrative, it keeps the audience motivated and captivated throughout the film. It is common to know about the incident on Thule, but experiencing the story on these terms brings new life into old history. Unfortunately, the only negative about the story is that sometimes it explores too many corners of the true story- The fact of being true to actual events, is the movie’s biggest obstacle. The film captures a true picture of the late 80’s to the early 90’s and most importantly: it brings a promising journalist – who unfortunately died of a heart attack at only 45 – back to life.