Hitting shelves in all decent retailers nationwide today is the new German film The Door starring Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen, but this dark fairy tale doesn’t have him swinging a rock into Daniel Craig’s balls, which I’m sure people will be spilt if that’s a good or a bad thing.

David (Mikkelsen) a successful artist who on a sunny afternoon leaves his daughter alone to play in their yard as he goes off to visit his mistress, but as he returns home a short time later he finds Leonie his daughter dead in their pool.  5 years pass, we find out that he is now divorced and borderline suicidal wrapped up in the guilt that he could have prevented Leonie’s death.

Guided by a mysterious butterfly, he stumbles across a tunnel that leads to a battered old wooden door, he passes through it and straight away it’s noticeable that everything is not as it seems.  The door takes him to 5 years in the past, the day of his daughter’s death and this time knowing the outcome he manages to prevent Leonie’s accident but now, in a reality where she is alive and he is still married to his wife David must figure a way to stay in this reality and get his second shot at happiness.

As a dark fairy tale, The Door works on many levels.  I didn’t know anything about the plot going in and was thinking the worst after the first 15 minutes of boring emo mournful storytelling, but when David passes through the door and you realise what is happening I sat up straight in my seat, it finally got interesting.  It delivered a twist I didn’t see coming and when that happens you’ve got to give the film its dues.

The pacing of the film for me was strange one though, it kept my attention throughout and I guess that’s the aim but I felt that it was very up and down.  It was never consistently exciting, by this I mean you would get a twist and for the next 15-20 minutes it would explore that twist and when that plot point would start to get stale it would throw another twist in there.  At the peaks it has some fantastic high tension moments and was a great, really affective fable but at the troths it’s pretty dull.

The third act also suffers from getting a little too crazy and out of hand for its own good and that’s when you start to question the whole validity of the thing.  It’s a story that if you looked into it with a certain amount of depth you’ll be able to find more holes in the plot than the hull of a sunken ship.  But it is interesting enough and at points entertaining enough that you let the those obvious plot holes drift to the back of your head because your just having a good time with it.  The theme of a second chance at life, to relive and correct your mistakes is one many people could to relate to but this film begs the audience to answer the question, what would you do for that second chance?

Mads Mikkelsen is one of the those actors I could watch in anything, it might sound a little strange but the guy just has one of the most interesting faces working today and he’s able to do so much with a glance or a ruffle of his brow.  His performance in this is no exception either; he’s solid and plays the guilty secret angle perfectly.  The mix of paranoia and happiness of being with his family again was exactly what was needed for the role.

The film also looks nice; there are some lovely shots to admire and a decent atmospheric score that adds the creep factor of it all.  Another thing that I enjoyed was  the complete ambiguity on the fact that some sort of time travel/alternate reality exists, it’s never really brought up and never pays into the main plot of the film.  It focuses completely on the characters and their relationships which was a great choice.  What you didn’t need in this film was some bloated exposition, so props go out to writer Jan Berger and director Anno Saul.

If you’re looking for a fairy tale like story that has enough twists and turns to keep your attention plus its fair amount of darkness then you can do a lot worst than The Door.  A great central performance with a solid supporting cast and story that I’m sure many can relate to means that I would very much recommend this to anyone.

7/10