OTT Review: Danish crime thriller Loving Adults

It explores a crime in context of a loveless marriage, and how love doesn’t need to be the cementing factor in a relationship: secrets are a much better glue


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 22 Sep 2022, 8:22 PM

Love triangles, especially if there are elements of infidelity/adultery thrown in, are a popular subject for ‘drama’ movies and shows. These are, many times, treated as morality tales, alongside some vicarious thrills that viewers get to enjoy since these ‘affairs’ are usually scandals and, therefore, salacious… and who doesn’t like salacious affairs, from afar, where you can judge and yet not be judged? At times, love triangles, the ones with the elements of the aforementioned infidelity/adultery thrown in, take on the tenor of a thriller. The two films that immediately come to mind are Dial M For Murder, the 1954 Hitchcock version (the 1998 retread A Perfect Murder couldn’t really pack in the thrills since we all knew what was going to happen); and Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful.

Loving Adults is narration-driven. A police detective (Mikael Birkkjær) is recounting a murder investigation he led to his daughter, using it as a cautionary tale about love — since the daughter is about to get married.

The recounting starts with a murder. In a fairly remote, foresty Danish suburb, Christian (Dar Salim), a successful businessman, is waiting in a car on the running trail where his wife Leonora (Sonja Richter) usually goes for her evening run. He sees a woman dressed like Leonora come around the corner, and moves in for the kill. He runs her over, and then reverses back on the body — just to be doubly sure.

The police detective then goes on to tell the backstory of what led to the crime. Christian is a gentle, nice person. He’s been married to Leonora (who used to be a talented musician at one point, but gave up on her career for the sake of domesticity) for a long time: they were just out of college when they tied the knot. They have a son, who they both love. But the problem is that time has taken a toll on love, with their domestic situation resembling snatches of Gone Girl. Very passive aggressive. The tension is uncomfortably palpable. The deceit — on both sides — is obvious… and by deceit I don’t mean the cheating, I mean the mind games they play with each other to keep the other person away from being part of a ‘union’.

It’s then revealed that Christian is having an affair with a younger, sexier woman who works in his company, and wants out. For Leonora, the revelation doesn’t make her heartbroken; she’s probably no longer in love, not in the romantic sense at least. She believes they are a team, and she’s furious that her practical existence has been threatened. When she resorts to blackmail to keep the marriage afloat, a murder is planned — and then one more.

I watched the movie with the English soundtrack on, so I thought the dubbing, while not bad at all, probably missed out on the visual-to-audio impact; many parts of the movie have a direct co-relation, and the nuances of the original language (Danish) gets lost in translation.

A tip: try not to judge the efficacy — or lack of it — of the moral compass. Loving Adults is quite a gripping, often disturbing, exploration of the human instinct and how much our minds are capable of being twisted for the sake of survival. And, of course, how love is not the chief ingredient in a marriage. Secrets are. And emotional blackmail is.

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