Adam’s Apples follows the strange rehabilitation process within which the title character finds himself upon being paroled from prison. Initially unimpressed with Ivan – the minister and care-taker of this half-way house – and his co-inhabitors, Adam slowly scowls his way into a position of interested observer. The events that unfold around him, the truths that emerge, shake Adam from his apathy and he begins to take action in a world that he cannot make sense of. Ivan’s unwillingness to see the dark truth of his circumstances and his self-professed battle with Satan, provides a point of both confusion and frustration to Adam. In line with his neo-Nazi persona, Adam turns malicious and shatters Ivan’s illusions. Realisation dawns for Adam as Ivan’s response to his onslaught is to lose faith in himself, in God, and in those around him. In the absence of the fragile harmony of the little community in the church, the cracks begin to widen and Adam’s only possible course of action is to follow through with the goal Ivan initially set for him: to make an apple pie.
Adam’s Apples brings to the fore the continuing debate concerning the reason for events in our lives, touching on the age-old question of ‘why bad things happen to good people’ and to whom do we attribute the power for the events that take place in our lives…and at which point are we being overly naive and avoiding the issue. Coming full circle, the film’s issues are, if not fully addressed, at least seemingly resolved and the film ends on a somewhat up-beat note.
The absence of a clear narrative direction and a typical protagonist, as well as the presence of countless symbols and motifs, make for a viewing session that involves hard work. However, the intellectual input is not in vain as the film seems to draw the viewer in, desiring a receptive audience, an audience that must question their own beliefs and make sense of the value systems being portrayed.
With a few violent scenes, a good deal of swearing and content that may disturb, Adam’s Apples is not for everyone. However, the film does not indulge in the gritty realism that one would expect and manages to make up for these shortfalls, resulting in a film that is both pleasant and enjoyable as well as thought-provoking.
Reviewed by: Kate van Niekerk
Rating: R – Contains Violence, and Strong language
Duration: 94 mins.
Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
Actors: Ulrich Thomsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Nicolas Bro, Paprika Steen, and Ali Kazim.
Release Date: Available now.