VIDEO: The trailer for Just Another Love Story
As noirs go, Ole Bornedal's Kærlighed på film gets off to a promising start. Our hero is lying on the pavement, rain washing his blood into the gutter. "A woman," he says. "It always starts with a woman." Jonas (Anders W. Berthelsen) has led a happy family life till Julia (Rebecka Hemse) shows up. She's on the run from a psychotic lover in Hanoi, Sebastian (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), whom she may have killed.
Julia loses her memory in a violent car wreck. A first reluctant and then obsessive Jonas assumes the role of Sebastian. The first 40 minutes are appealingly constrained, stirring up questions about the nature of contentment, love, and reality.
The entrance of a bandaged figure lurking down hospital corridors evokes the dread of Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique. But the characters' motivations grow more and more absurd, and writer/director Bornedal tries so hard to terrify or provoke (as in his 1998 failure, Nightwatch) that all the good acting and imagery add up to nothing more than pretty violence.