Søren Juul Petersen (director)
14 March 2019 (released)
Opening with a warning about what we are about to see and to leave now Finale opens its account by following that with a screaming woman being dragged out of a cage. It’s not a promising start.
But there is some promise as the film settles down with Agnes (Anne Bergfeld) and Belinda (Karin Michelsen) working at a secluded petrol station, on the day that Denmark have reached the finals of the European football Championship.
This unlikely scenario means that there’s not many customers around and those that are weirdos. They are unsettled further by the air pump being moved around the forecourt for no reason. So the first act or so gradually builds up the atmosphere as the two women appear to be toyed with. (and there are flash forwards to what awaits them). This is starkly caught by using the station’s CCTV images to relay images from around the petrol station.
It’s the second and third sections that are problematic as the women and a captured man are subjected to horrendous violence by a grotesque clown/Ringmaster (Damon Younger), for the delight of a live and internet audience. The treatment meted out is about as nasty as it can get, and consciously so. This in turn gets the online crowd into a pervrese ferment leading to an incessant stream of messages coming up on the screen.
The Film is based on a book by Steen Langstrup who co-scripted with director Søren Juul Petersen. The book was written about ten years and that presents one of the problems, in that the internet and live audiences gorging on real-time torture has been done and is past its sell buy date.
Changing attitudes mean that audiences don’t have much of an appetite for this anymore regardless if the bad guys get their comeuppance. As regards the level of violence and what is termed extreme, it needs a point. Trauma and A Serbian Tale had them, sort of, Finale doesn’t.