Sons of Denmark15
The climate in Europe is changing, and it’s not just the weather. The political spectrum is shifting dramatically, making countries more fractured – just look at what Brexit has done to the UK.
For Ulaa Salim’s full feature directorial debut, he puts the spotlight on his home of Denmark, and presents a version of how it looks politically in the near future.
Living in the city of Copenhagen with his mother and brother is young Zakaria (Mohammed Ismail Mohammed). The city is still feeling the impact of a terror attack a year earlier, that saw 23 deaths, and none are feeling it more than the minority immigrant communities.
With the extreme left growing in popularity, Zakaria and the rest of the Arabic community are feeling more threatened. Zakaria’s disillusionment of what is happening in his country, sees him recruited by a radical organisation. It’s here that he meets Ali (Zaki Youssef), who not only befriends him but also trains him for a dangerous mission – to kill a prominent politician with extreme views.
But with extremism on both sides becoming the norm, it becomes not only more difficult to decipher who the real enemy is, but more importantly, who has the power to stop them.
Although Salim has set his film a few years into the future, the themes he concentrates on are all too recognisable. The issue of immigration has become such a hotbed of political turmoil, that Salim’s film sadly doesn’t feel all that distant.
As far as the narrative is concerned, the director breaks the story into three intriguing sections. The first sees a character being recruited by radicals; the second is seen from the perspective of law enforcement – albeit a unique one; and third almost comes full circle, with a finale that was almost inevitable, one way or another.
Sons of Denmark is a film that captures the general concern of the current turbulent political climate, from all sides. Instead of coming down hard on one side and condemning, it highlights a possible future where essentially everyone suffers.
As well as being thought-provoking, from a script that Salim also wrote, it also has some stiking performances, most notably from Youssef, who’s character is the most conflicted, struggling as he does with the political and moral issues at hand.
It’s a brave, politically charged, self assured debut, tapping into the growing uneasiness surrounding race and immigration. Although it doesn’t offer anything by way of a solution – how could it? – it certainly works well as a stark warning of how more rotten things could get in not only Denmark, but across the globe.