The plotting in "After the Wedding" is melodramatic, even a bit soap-operatic. Yet, unlike many Hollywood features and TV soaps, the material is done in a way that seems refreshingly real and honest.
In fact, the mostly no-frills storytelling methods here as with other Scandinavian movies, this one subscribes to the "Dogme" doctrines make this material even more effective. And while some of the story and character development does strain believability, the film is emotionally satisfying.
"Wedding" also features a top-to-bottom terrific cast, led by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen ("Casino Royale"), who stars as Jacob, the manager of an orphanage in India. But the program is struggling financially, so Jacob is forced to return to Copenhagen to seek funding.
Fortunately, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist named Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard) seems interested in helping. In fact, he even puts Jacob up in a deluxe hotel during a family wedding. That only frustrates Jacob, who's desperate to return to his orphans. As it turns out, there's a method to Jorgen's madness, however; he has ulterior motives for wanting Jacob to remain there.
There are a few twists and surprises, though at least one of them is fairly obvious. Still, director Susanne Bier and her co-screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen create some intriguing situations and obstacles for their characters to navigate.
As for Mikkelsen, he may not be the warmest presence but his character is supposed to be a bit of an enigma. Besides, Lassgard is a large presence, and his somewhat conniving Jorgen is the most compelling character here. Although Sidse Babett Knudsen and Stine Fischer Christensen are also very good as Jorgen's spouse and daughter, respectively.
"After the Wedding" is rated R for strong sexual language (profanity, vulgar slang and other suggestive talk), brief sexual contact, brief female and partial male nudity, and references to past drug use (as well as prescription medicines). Running time: 120 minutes.