Monday, February 9, 2009

"Soldier" explores female vet's home-front battles

BERLIN (Hollywood Reporter) – An inwardly and outwardly scarred Danish servicewoman back from a tour of duty in Iraq provides "Little Soldier" with a rock-solid center, from which multiple themes shoot out like an explosion of shrapnel.

Returning to the Berlin Film Festival for the third time, Danish director Annette K. Olesen ("Minor Mishaps," "In Your Hands") shows a confident grasp of camera and narration, backed by excellent performances. Although commercial prospects will be limited by a certain northern chilliness that prevents the audience from automatically connecting to the unusual characters, the film could take home acting prizes that would encourage art-house viewers to give it a try.

The opening scenes introduce Lotte (Trine Dyrholm), an attractively tough woman in her 40s who drinks heavily and keeps to herself. When her jolly father (Finn Nielsen) discovers she has returned from Iraq early, he pulls her into the family business of sex-trafficking a ring of Nigerian prostitutes. Lotte, who still is struggling for her father's love, becomes chauffeur to his favorite call girl, Lily (Lorna Brown), who he has taken as a live-in lover.

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