Among Us

A maudlin, contrived drama in which Stockholm parents in crisis are … well, touched by an angel.

With:
With: Michael Nyqvist, Izabella Scorupco, Tcheky Karyo, Ewa Froling, Jacob Ericksson, Saga Garde, Melker Duberg, Donald Sumpter. (Swedish, French, English dialogue)

Writer-director Johan Brisinger and star Michael Nyqvist struck dramatic paydirt with 2006’s “Suddenly,” but they’re on shakier ground with “Among Us,” a maudlin, contrived drama in which Stockholm parents in crisis are … well, touched by an angel — one who speaks French, sings chansons and brings world-class wines to dinner. Overseas ancillary prospects might benefit from Nyqvist’s international profile in the “Millennium” trilogy (and the next “Mission: Impossible”), and formulaic inspirational aspects could attract remake bids from faith-based entertainment concerns.

Ernst (Nyqvist) has it all — a notably loving wife, Cecilia (Izabella Scorupco), and a young son — as he’s duly reminded at a surprise birthday party. Naturally, the next day a playground accident plunges the boy into a coma. Cecilia then meets mysterious Gallic stranger Walter (Tcheky Karyo), who seems to know all about her predicament and wants to help. She latches onto this possibly divine bon vivant, though skeptical Ernst resists. Things get progressively sillier and schmaltzier as Walter teaches them to live, laugh, love, etc. again, en route to a miracle that arrives like clockwork. Slick presentation and able performers can only do so much with this material.

Among Us

Sweden

Production: A Drama Svecia and Sonet Film production in association with TV4, Garland's Film Fund, Filmregion Stockholm Malardalen, Nouvago Capital and Nyqvist Film. (International sales: Swedish Film Institue, Stockholm.) Produced by Mikael Flodell, Peter Possne. Executive producers, Bo Rehnberg, Asa Sjoberg, Niva Westlin-Dahl, Ake Lundstrom, Frank Bonn. Directed, written by Johan Brisinger.

Crew: Camera (color), Henrik Stenberg; editor, Stephan Walfridsson; music, Henrik Lorstad; production designer, Bengt Froderberg; costume designer, Lisa Holmqvist. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival (World Cinema Now), Jan. 15, 2011. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Michael Nyqvist, Izabella Scorupco, Tcheky Karyo, Ewa Froling, Jacob Ericksson, Saga Garde, Melker Duberg, Donald Sumpter. (Swedish, French, English dialogue)

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