Nick and Martin are brothers living in contemporary Copenhagen, struggling to deal with the childhood trauma of their little brother dying of neglect as the result of their mother's alcoholism. Nick has served time, and now passes the day at the gym or drinking and the evenings with a hooker. Martin is a junkie who turns to pushing to support his little boy. Both of them, in their own fucked-up way, try to protect the kids in their lives, as a sort of penance for having failed their little brother.
The movie is austere, closely observed and unrelentingly grim. It is a return, if not in form, but in content, to the Dogme style of film-making that Thomas Vinterberg (DEAR WENDY) originated in. The lead performances are strong, and the stories of the two brothers - who are estranged for much of the film - are deftly inter-twined. However, I am not sure why, but I just couldn't get into the film. Something about the unrelenting self-annihilation kept me at a distance, just as the brothers try to distance themselves from their emotions, with alcohol and smack respectively. As a result, SUBMARINO is a film that I admired rather than enjoyed.
SUBMARINO played Berlin 2010 and was released in September in France, Finland and the Netherlands. It opens in Belgium on November 17th.