X&Y is a Swedish drama by a controversial filmmaker named Anna Odell. Playing herself in the film, Odell enlists several actors to live in a warehouse under surveillance and partake in psychological experiments that soon grow to be sadistic.
The film’s primary theme is the ambiguity of identity, which is only amplified by the director playing herself in a fictional film, satirizing her persona as a controversial Swedish filmmaker. The film’s full of compelling performances, but the male lead, Mikael Persbrandt, really steals the show.
X&Y is not something I can recommend for most audiences. You really need a specific appetite for a film like this. It’s slow, it’s foreign, it’s subtitled, it’s weird, it’s meandering. To me, the film has some classic tropes of Scandinavian cinema - it is eye-rollingly pretentious, it is punishingly cerebral, it is bizarrely erotic. There’s moments that feel like they’re supposed be comic relief, but the Nordic sense of humor is so grim, it’s impossible to tell. A wolf costume plays important part in the film, which I think not only sums this movie up, but maybe the entire country of Sweden in general. However, I enjoyed the film.
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