The Best Intentions (3 stars)

The Best Intentions

(12) 181min
(Park Circus)

The Best Intentions has pedigree galore. Based on a memoir of his parent’s unhappy marriage, it’s scripted by Ingmar Bergman and directed by feted Danish filmmaker Bille August (Pelle the Conqueror, The House of the Spirits). Unfortunately this version, edited down from the little seen six-hour mini series, is unequal to the talents of its cast and crew.

The film has few Bergman-esque touches and little sense of the sound design, oppressive close-ups and connotative lighting so often utilised by the great Swede. Instead, August tells the story of a spoiled young woman (Pernilla August) and impoverished theology student (Samuel Fröler) trying to make a life against the backdrop of social upheaval. Ably handled, but with none of the mystery and claustrophobia so central to Bergman’s oeuvre, this may have won August his second Palme d’Or in five years (the first was for Pelle), but it feels almost devoid of internal vigour. Minimal extras.

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