Nick and his little brother live with their mother, a horrible drunk who spends more time with the bottle than her own sons. Because of this fact, Nick and his other brother are tasked with taking care of their baby brother even though they obviously aren't knowledgeable on the matter. This leads to tragedy, with both brothers blaming themselves for their baby brothers death. Many years later, Nick and his younger brother, who remains nameless, remain haunted by the events of their childhood. Thomas Vinterberg's Submarino is a bleak character study that provides little hope in its depiction of two men whose lives have been shattered forever due to a tragedy from their past. Being told through a non-linear narrative, Submarino follows these two brothers capturing the sadness and despair which consumes their lives. Nick spends his life drinking and chain smoking with nothing really to live for. His brother on the other hand is a single father, raising a young boy, while also being a drug addict, whose addiction is out of control. Submarino is not the most pleasant of experiences but it is well crafted, with well done cinematography and framing which certainly elevate the character study. The film's color palette is this hazy, almost sickly green, which just seems to perfectly fit the story. With Submarino, Vinterberg seems to be intent on capturing the importance of good parenting and/or environment. While this certainly shines through, Vinterberg goes one step further, suggesting that life is full of tragedy in which these men could have overcome if not simply for some type of support. Nick having his unborn son aborted against his personal wishes and the other brother losing his wife in a car accident, have both been through a lot but it's how they responded is telling. While these are horrific incidents in their own right, these men's inability to fight through adversity stems back to their childhood and lack someone they could confide in. This lack of never having someone like this in their lives leads both men to lack fight and simply give up on life when it gets tough. Thomas Vinterberg's Submarino is certainly not a film for everyone but it's a well crafted film from acting to direction that offers a slight shimmer of hope at the very end.
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