I didn’t know what to expect when I happened across this during a particularly ambitious YouTube session. I very much wanted to watch The Secret of Kells but I felt that I should wait to watch it with my girlfriend, who had expressed an equal interest in what it had to offer. The YouTube description for Dennis was useless, reducing the hero(?) to ‘an introvert bodybuilder’, and setting me up to hear about his wild night. The teaser lead me to hopefulness; the opening of the film quickly changed that. Dennis sits in silence (there are many moments of silence in Dennis, adding to its immense woefulness more than any dialogue could), dwarfing his tiny bed under his muscled form, and holding a miniscule slip of paper with a phone number. He has a pained conversation with Patricia, the woman of the phone number, before finally convincing her to go to dinner with him. Dennis and his reflection follow, accompanied by a bitingly sorrowful (in its giddiness) song by Sune Martin, and we see that Dennis, a big man, is a child. He lives with his abusive mother, the ex-wife of an alcoholic father, and she is determined not only to ‘save’ Dennis from the evil and twisted world outside but to remind him at each mistake that he ‘resembles his father so’. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the film – but Dennis carries it on his broad shoulders and one will feel almost ill with melancholy at its conclusion.
Dennis won awards in 2008 and 2009 at film festivals worldwide and is appearing as a feature film in November (at least in Denmark). Hopefully we will see a subtitled version shortly afterward – this is not a movie to be forgotten or missed.