Just when you think that you've seen every variant of the coming out scenario imaginable, along comes a director who reminds you that there's life still left in the perennial favourite. Only in this instance, Susanna Edwards has crafted an electrifying thriller around the well thread theme in the form of thirty-something Peter; a civil engineer set to inherit the family business from a patriarchal figurehead rejoicing in his sons' engagement to the beautiful Maria.
Only scratch below the surface and things are not always what they appear. For with his fiancée out of town, Peter takes the opportunity to meet up with Algerian born Nassim; a sexually confident gay man who brings out a hitherto repressed side of his nature, one destined to come face to face with the homophobic wrath of his sister, fiancée and father. Effectively fired, disinherited and ostracised by a family united in their disapproval of his new found lifestyle, Peter's love for Nassim remains his sole reason for living. Only what’s a boy to do when the police come literally knocking at the door, convinced that you’re the Keillers Park killer?
For that is the crux of the story on offer here, given Edwards takes delight in keeping you guessing as to whether love did indeed turn to hate and hate to murder, along the way lacing her work with meaningful flashbacks, subtle use of b/w photography so as to highlight specific sections of the storyline, let alone bathing her two lovers passionate embraces in the sun kissed elements of the spectrum. To that end, Mårten Klingberg as Peter and Piotr / Pjotr Giro as Nassim deliver solid performances of their opposing characters' nature, with Nassim's carefree 'joie du vie' spirit nicely contrasting with the controlled routine of a man seemingly unable or unwilling to break free from his banal existence. Namely a relationship time bomb just waiting to explode.
That such an emotional outburst does eventually occur, should arrive as no surprise. What does take you aback however, is the ingrained homophobia of the piece. For shunned by friends and family, the open-mindedness of the Sweden of today seems far removed from the hostility of both a society and a bigoted police force depicted here. Then again, screenwriter Pia Gradvall based his work on a true story, one that sees Edwards mixing a cinematic cocktail of homosexual love and self-discovery to deliver an
accomplished homoerotic whodunit. And whilst the ending may seem like a cinematic cop out, such is tragically but a Gothenburg fact of life. Or rather death.