Powder Keg

It is easy in today’s world to be negative about everything. Life today is hard. Messy. Confusing. Seems like rare is the person who tries to look for the silver lining in things we all see as negative. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of this. Everything seems dark. Millions of deaths worldwide, inability to see loved ones, overburdened health systems, conspiracies about vaccination, anti-vaxxers, protests over the rules which are seen by some as an affront to personal choice and liberties, and it goes on and on. Seems like the new reality. That we are never going to get rid of it; just have to learn to live with it. Rare is the person who chooses (and it is a choice) to not only learn the hard lessons being doled out but also see the positives.

Positives like realizing what is important in life, learning not to take things for granted, spending more time with people you are bubbled with, learning new technologies, appreciating the outdoors, and realizing how important our health care systems are. I would like to forward another plus. It seems, in my estimation, that there have been fewer terrorist attacks. Worldwide. Why? I don’t know but a mere two years ago there seemed to be a major one every month or so somewhere on the globe.

Ole Christian Madsen’s (Pizza King, Flame & Citron) film (he co-wrote and directed) deals with the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices. How the rest of the world was affected. How the repercussions were felt in Denmark. How on February 14 and 15, 2015 a terrorist attack happened in Copenhagen. Based on true events, it intermingles the stories of several men who seemingly have nothing to do with one another then due to the attack are brought together.

An interesting aspect of the film is how it looks at the radicalization of those who were involved in the terrorist act. It seems to be human nature to want to understand why and how someone can commit such a heinous act. Seems to help us deal. We see how Omar (Albert Amir Amiryan – first film) is radicalized while he is serving time in prison. Plenty of the focus is on the terrorist and his story. We see the lead up to the act and then the manhunt to try and find those involved.

Another focus is on three men who died that day during the attack in Copenhagen. Men who really had nothing to do with one another. The actions which led to them being there and what they did during the attack. Are we to see them as heroes or victims? Up for discussion here.

A dark film in which plenty of different emotions are brought to the surface. As important as the issues here are the film and Madsen often fumble the ball. The biggest mistake is the pace of Powder Keg. Instead of exploding like the material it is named after, the film crawls ahead at a snail’s pace. As a result the tension there could have been and is needed in a story of the sort, is diminished. It also takes over one hour for the film to establish its story. Way too long! Some have already checked out by that point.

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