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It's All About Love (2003)

Directed by:

Thomas Vinterberg

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: Germany, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States

It’s 2021, and old Mother Earth is having a right torrid time of it. Temperatures are plummeting, impromptu heart-attacks are causing random everyday-types to drop dead on the street, and – most bizarrely of all – a problem with the gravitational pull over Africa is causing hapless Ugandan villagers to float off into the ether. Yup, it’s fair to say we’ve made a proper pig’s ear of looking after this planet of ours.

It’s amid all of this hoo-ha that we meet John (Joaquin Phoenix). He’s trying to get his estranged Polish ice-skater missus Elena (Claire Danes) to sign their divorce papers. The trouble is, she keeps getting distracted by the gang of heavies who have been hired to kill her, and the four clones that have been created to take her place once she’s six feet under. So, accompanied by Elena’s mustard-suited simpleton of a brother (Douglas Henshall) and wearing their dodgy Eastern European accents like a particularly uncomfortable pair of shoes, John and Elena decide to go on the run.

It’s written and helmed by Thomas Vinterberg, the Danish director best-known for co-founding the less-is-more doctrine “Dogme 95” with countryman Lars von Trier. Ironically, though, this film plopsies square in the face of the Dogme 95 basics, choosing style over substance at practically every turn. The dialogue (with the exception of Sean Penn’s fleeting scenes as John’s brother) is weak and witless, the story slow and unengaging, and the characters cold and nigh-on impossible to relate to (despite the title, their seemingly all-important love for one another seldom rings true).

Sure, ‘It’s All About Love’ is great to look at. The contrast between the futuristic cityscapes and snow-covered countryside provides a sharp visual treat. Unfortunately, mere aesthetics can never make up for turgid storytelling, feeble acting and a wholly implausible plotline.

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It's Got: Penn, Danes and Phoenix back together again for the first time since 1997’s ‘U Turn’.

It Needs: Lead characters bright enough to consider actually taking some warm clothes and supplies with them when they fleeing across a frozen wasteland.

DVD Extras Cast interviews, a trailer, and the option of audio commentary from Mr Vinterberg. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

Code 46

Summary

Encroaching ice age or not, this one’s best left out in the cold.

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