September 17, 2020  (Web Review)

Exit Plan

Screen Media, 90 min., not rated, in Danish w/English subtitles, DVD: $24.99, Aug. 4

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Filmmaker Jonas Alexander Arnby’s dark feature, known in the original Danish as “Selvmordsturisten” (Suicide Tourist) is umpteenth variation on the wheeze about a would-be suicide hiring assassins to get himself killed, then having second thoughts (maybe it was old even when Jules Verne played with it in his 1879 novel “Les Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine”). Arnby’s moody, time-splintered, possibly unreliable narrative concerns Max (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), an insurance investigator diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, a diagnosis he hides from his vivacious lover (Tuva Novotny) planning adventure-trips with him. Max contemplates suicide but is unable to go through with it. However, using a lead from an unsolved case at work, he arrives at Aurora, a resort-like mountain complex where the staff assist clients with ending their lives in (supposedly) idyllic and custom-tailored fashion. In the typical arc of such storylines the hero suddenly regains his will to live and has to extract himself out of the dilemma (and seldom has any filmmaker solved that one satisfactorily). Arnby, however, makes the viewer question if what we are seeing is the literal truth, a “Jacob’s Ladder” type twist, or perhaps sensory delusions in a brain gradually losing its functions. A judicious use of the “rewind” function might be in order to sift for clues, and even then the answer is unclear. Nonetheless, it is a tantalyzing item for foreign collections or viewers who remember the lead actor from his role on “Game of Thrones.” (C. Cassady)