After the Wedding (2006)
Spoiler Alert: The plot in this film contains a few “surprises”. I do not discuss the plot of the film explicitly in this commentary, but I do make indirect reference to some of the “surprises” so do not read further if you have not yet seen the film and prefer to not have any knowledge of its plot twists.
On the surface, the character Jørgen, the “father” of the bride, comes across (at least to some viewers) as a sympathetic character. After all, he took good care of his family; he gave much money to charity; he (perhaps) underwent a positive transformation of character when he was confronted with the reality of his own death. Personally, I have a quite different view of the character Jørgen. And that is what I will comment about in this posting.
Jørgen knows what it feels like to be a predator because he has been one his entire life. He visualizes himself as a fox, running down the trails surveying his territory, lurking in the camouflage watching potential prey, sizing them up for weaknesses and vulnerabilities, preparing for the kill when the time is right. His predatory behavior has allowed him to collect many trophies of all sorts. We see the heads of some of his trophies lining the walls of his home. He has become rich beyond imagination because of the predatory way he ran his business. We hear the minions in his company retell the “heroic myths” of his ruthless “kills” of competitors. Some of his trophies are not “kills”, but prey forced into submission. These include his trophy wife and trophy children. This does not mean that he does not “love”his wife and children, simply that they remain under his total control rather than being allowed to decide for themselves how to live their lives. Jørgen is the benevolent alpha male who always knows what is best for his trophy family and provides it (whether they want it or not).
However, Jørgen is confronting, for the first time, an adversary who will defeat him. He is facing death. Now he is starting to get a small taste of what it feels like to be the prey instead of the predator. His eyes are now starting to take on a look characteristic of a vulnerable prey, isolated from the herd and being circled by a pack of predators. The powerful self-image he carries in his mind of being a cunning fox is morphing into an image of a decomposing body of a fox surrounded by decay.
But Jørgen is not one to give up easily. He has a plan that will allow him to maintain a controlling grip of influence beyond death. Perhaps his path to immortality of sorts. His body might have to succumb to death, but that does not necessarily mean he has to let go of his prize trophy family. He can perhaps keep them under his control. But this plan will require one final “kill”. And he will need to put his huge arsenal of predator skills to work if he is going to carry out this last “kill” successfully.
I have some advice for the character Jacob, the “other” father of the bride. Run like hell! When you are summoned back to Denmark from the orphanage in India where you work, and where you have established a good life, beware. When you arrive in Denmark and are asked by Jørgen if you want a drink and you say no, and in the next scene we see you having a drink, we know you are being sized up for weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Later when you are asked by Jørgen if you want to have lunch, and you say no, and in the next scene you are having lunch, we know the predator is circling closer and getting ready for the kill. Please, for your sake, and for the sake of all of those enslaved trophies, and for the sake of all that is good in the world, do not sell your soul for a few measly dollars. The “good” that will result is perverse. You will regret it the rest of your life.
But alas, a good tragedy has to run its (tragic) course.
I thought After the Wedding had the potential to be a 5 star movie, but it veered too dangerously close to degenerating into a sentimental soap opera a few too many times. Nevertheless, a film I highly recommend, and I gave it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars