Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen discusses the writing of ‘Riders of Justice’ and why he believes there may be an air of secrecy across the characters performed by Mads Mikkelsen
I least anticipate Anders Thomas Jensen to know Chennai once I set-up a Zoom interview for a post-screening dialogue on his newest movie, Riders of Justice. Connecting from his dwelling in Denmark, Jensen says, “Oh, you’re in Chennai,” placing a smile on my face, “I’ve been to many airports and I at all times see Chennai and Mumbai as quickly as I’m in Dubai or Asia.”
We met two days after the world première of Riders of Justice, which was the opening movie on the fiftieth version of the recently-concluded Worldwide Movie Competition Rotterdam 2021 (on-line). Starring Mads Mikkelsen as Markus, a warfare veteran who has post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), who has to maintain his daughter Mathilde after a nasty prepare collision that claims his spouse, the movie is an existential drama that talks about life, religion and coincidence.
Drawing inspiration from his personal life, Jensen discusses the movie’s underlying theme amongst others. Excerpts:
There are three threads to the narrative; there may be Markus and his daughter Mathilde, Otto and his pals, and a grandfather-granddaughter. Whenever you write a movie with particular person story arcs, versus a simple story, what comes first — the character or the arc?
It’s totally different every time. However on this case, it began with Markus. This film got here from a theme. I used to be going by means of a mid-life disaster the place I misplaced sense of the aim of life. Later, it dawned on me that what offers which means to our lives is connection. If I labored laborious, I might afford to purchase issues for my kids. It begins from there.
However if you happen to go deep down the rabbit gap the place you lose these connections, you find yourself in despair and you don’t have any sense of management over something. All these ideas went into my head and as quickly as I got here out of remedy, I began writing about this man [Markus] who has PTSD, who will get concerned in a series of occasions.
Although the movie offers with 5 characters, it has an underlying theme of destiny vs coincidence. Which facet do you end up in?
I’m like Markus [from the film]. I’m not a believer. However I imagine in surrounding with individuals you like. I’m towards any type of habit, whether or not it’s faith, alcohol or medication. My solely philosophy of life is, all the pieces is an enormous pile of coincidence.
In an interview, you had mentioned that you simply like to play with the style. Riders of Justice can broadly be categorized as drama, nevertheless it additionally has comedy and motion. Whenever you shift the movie’s tone from one style aspect to a different, do you, as a screenwriter, fear about diluting the impression?
Oh yeah. For this movie, I wished to combine a clear-cut drama with a few of my very own comedy movies, to see if I can merge these two and make them plausible. That’s the very first thing I instructed Otto [Nikolaj Lie Kaas]. That he’s the glue to the movie, connecting these two worlds. He’s the one who steps into the pure world [Markus and Mathilde’s life] and the loopy facet [tech geeks].
We had the selection of constructing a humorous film, like 90 minutes of enjoyable, enjoyable and enjoyable. However we wished 60 minutes of enjoyable and half-hour of drama. To reply your query, I like movies that break style conventions. Generally, the style system is boring since you [the audience] get precisely what you need…you both giggle, cry or be afraid. I like movies the place feelings soar.
The fascinating facet of Riders of Justice was Markus. There’s a fixed curiosity to know extra. As a result of, there’s something secretive about the best way Mads Mikkelsen performs it. Was that the thought? To retain a little bit of thriller round him?
Yeah, you possibly can say there’s a thriller, though I do know who Markus is and the place he comes from. Mads at all times does that. He provides a bit extra to the character, making you assume that there’s extra down there. An off-the-cuff look from Mads isn’t just a glance. There may be a lot extra.
One other attention-grabbing factor was the best way music was used. In a method, you possibly can perceive the emotional state of Markus from the background rating. If he takes to violence, we get this bombastic piece of music and we get this choir music when the violence ends. How do you’re employed together with your composers?
I’ve been working with the identical composer [Jeppe Kaas] all these years. A number of the choir music we’ve got used are iconic items of Danish Christian music. They actually faucet into individuals’s religion. Additionally, the irony actually helped. At first, Markus says he rejects all the pieces from God. However each time he’s in misery, we give him this God-themed rating, which will get him going.
There may be one specific scene. It’s when Markus involves know concerning the coincidence and he type of goes by means of this excessive response. What was he going by means of? Was he damaged by the truth that he killed the incorrect man or was it as a result of he couldn’t get a solution for his spouse’s demise?
It’s humorous that you simply requested as a result of the producers confirmed the movie to troopers with PTSD and it resonated with them. They felt it was the most effective second within the movie. Generally, if you endure from PTSD, you get right into a violence house the place you’re chasing after one thing and if you don’t succeed, your thoughts explodes. That’s the case with Markus. He lies to himself saying revenge is the reply. His life falls aside in that scene due to he has dedicated a horrible deed and has to come back phrases along with his spouse’s demise.
The daughter (Mathilde) is the ethical centre of the movie…
Sure, she is the place the place we put all of the feelings. You are feeling the emotion solely when one thing is tremendous actual and regular. She is the one one that is regular in a movie everyone isn’t. Even whereas casting, I attempted to solid somebody who appeared regular for Mathilde [Andrea Heick Gadeberg].
The ending offers a closure to the arc.
It’s at all times good to finish on a Christmas eve. Nothing beats the approaching collectively of household.
What are you engaged on at present?
I’m writing a script for Nikolaj Arcel [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame]. That’s the advantage of COVID-19, you get to do a whole lot of work.