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" Time for me to row with all the other slaves "
— Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Lara punches a shark, rides a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China, and dives off a skyscraper —Matt Anderson (review...)

Jolie fits nicely into Lara Croft's boots

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Reconstruction is a puzzle of a movie and an impressive debut from Danish filmmaker Christoffer Boe, who lies somewhere between David Lynch and M. Night Shyamalan.

Wrapped in an Enigma

Alex and Aimee meet in a bar. But when, and in what dimension?
Alex and Aimee meet in a bar. But when, and in what dimension?

I say “puzzle of a movie” because the film is full of paradoxes. Different events happen at the same time in the same place. Or the same events happen at different times and places. Or both, or perhaps neither. A second viewing didn’t spell out Boe’s take on things, and watching the DVD extras, it becomes clear that Boe doesn’t want things spelled out. In this regard he emulates Lynch and not Shyamalan.

Nevertheless, the story is intriguing. Our narrator tells us that four characters are involved: Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), his girlfriend Simone, the narrator himself, and his wife Aimee (Maria Bonnevie). The movie centers around the meeting of boyfriend Alex and married Aimee.

Alex hurriedly leaves Simone after dinner one night to chase after a pretty face he’s just seen; it must be love at first sight. He follows her, Aimee, to a bar, where he playfully asks her to run away to Rome with him. They end up spending the night together, and the next morning Alex returns to Simone to apologize for ditching her, just as our narrator returns from his business trip. But Simone doesn’t remember Alex. In fact, the whole world — his landlady, his father, his friends — has forgotten him. It is as though he never really existed.

That afternoon he meets Aimee again, and she both remembers him and forgets him. At least she seems to be interested in him, whether or not she remembers. Will she leave her husband and follow Alex to Rome? If so, in what dimension(s) will they travel to get there? Is Alex learning a cosmic lesson, a la Groundhog Day? Is the narrator taking his revenge on our protagonist? Or is Reconstruction a deliberately unreal meditation on new love trumping established love?

Boe makes us each decide for ourselves.

DVD Extras

Palm’s DVD includes a handful of extra features, including interviews with director Boe and his two stars, a trailer, and previews for other Palm Pictures titles.

Aside from the U.S. trailer — which promises a more mainstream thriller — the only relevant extra features are the interviews. These are presented artfully. They are filmed in black and white and presented from two angles simultaneously: head-on and in profile, which is one way of making a two-dimensional medium three-dimensional. Pretty clever for a film that is a multidimensional puzzle.

On the other hand, my less generous reaction is that these interviews are pretentious. Boe’s in particular reeks of elitism. His shaved head, loosely knotted tie, black jacket, stylishly passé eyeglasses, and constant smoking present the perfect poser portrait. His snobby dismissal of mainstream successes like Titanic, to which he compares his own romantic film, is almost endearingly conceited.

But if you want actual information, watch the actors’ interviews. They give much more information than Boe’s does. The actors concede that the film has no single “answer,” and that they worked out what was really going on scene-by-scene so that they’d at least have something concrete to work from.

Picture and Sound

Reconstruction looks very good on DVD. The detail and color are very good. There is at least one scene where the brightness is unstable, but it seems to have been in the source and not the transfer.

The carefully controlled, moody soundtrack is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.