out of Five
Running time: 101
Powerful, engaging and thought-provoking Danish drama with strong
performances and impressive direction by Olesen.
In Your Hands is the latest film to use the Dogme Manifesto, as set down by Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and others almost a decade ago. A natural reaction to that news might be “Oh, are they still making Dogme films, then?”, but director Olesen proves that there’s life in the old Dogme yet, as In Your Hands is a powerful, engaging drama that benefits greatly from Olesen’s naturalistic approach.
Priest Working In Women’s Prison Gets Shock
Ann Eleonora Jorgensen plays Anna, a newly trained priest who gets a job in a women’s prison. As prisons go, it’s a smaller, altogether more relaxed sort of place than the maximum-security stockades beloved of American exploitation movies, but no matter.
One of the prisoners (Sonja Richter), an ex-junkie, volunteers to help Anna and then tells her about a new inmate named Kate (Trine Dyrholm) who she believes has miraculous healing powers, because she helped to cure her drug addiction.
Anna is naturally sceptical, but she becomes gradually drawn to Kate and things take a turn for the bizarre when Kate tells Anna that she’s pregnant. Anna doesn’t initially believe her, because she and her husband (Lars Ranthe) have been trying to have children for several years, but tests suggest that Kate might actually be right.
Meanwhile, the prison counsellor, Henrik (Nicolaj Kopernikus) has also noticed Kate and has taken to taking her out on “day-trips” that are more like dates…
Powerful Well Made Drama
The characters are extremely well drawn and you really feel for both Kate and Anna, despite a gnawing feeling that the film is unlikely to have a happy ending.
The acting is equally impressive - Trine Dyrholm is terrific as Kate and we find ourselves as drawn to her as the other characters are, constantly asking ourselves if she’s really going to turn out to be a miracle worker. Jorgensen is superb as Anna, brilliantly conveying Anna’s internal struggle between her faith, her sense of rationality and her hope.
The script is intelligent and thought-provoking, with the psychology of each character carefully worked out. In addition, the naturalistic direction often makes it feel as if we’re watching a documentary, which gives the drama an extra emotional edge.
In short, In Your Hands is a powerful, well made drama with superb performances throughout. It’s unusual to see issues of faith and religious belief dealt with so engagingly on screen and Olesen’s direction ensures that your attention is held from the start. Recommended.