"Terribly Happy": Happily Trippy

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I went to see Henrik Ruben Genz & Dunja Gry Jensen's Danish film, Terribly Happy (Frygtelig lykkelig), this past weekend, and I don't think I've repeated "what the fuck is going on?!" so many times during a movie since David Lynch's Inland Empire molested my mind.

But "what the fuck is going on?!" isn't necessarily a bad thing. Inland Empire never gelled and became comprehensible; Terribly Happy, on the other hand, wickedly begs for your understanding (and complicity).

The plot is simple. A disgraced big-city police officer (Jakob Cedergren) gets reassigned to be the sole cop in a small town filled with oddball residents (straight out of the Lynch canon), their own code of conduct (they do things their own way around here), and an ominous bog (the final resting place of the town's legendary two-headed cow—yup, I said "two-headed cow").

The film moves rather slowly for most of its 90-minute running time (warning, children of the 80s!), but Terribly Happy isn't supposed to be watched as much as it's meant to be experienced. It's one of those cinematic head trips that, if you give in to it, makes you feel like you're on drugs. (Um...not that I would know what being on drugs feels like...um.)



Aside from paying homage to David Lynch, the filmmakers also probably owe a debt to Hal Hartley (the film has some of his rhythms) and the Coen Bothers (this is a dark comedy disguised as a thriller, after all).
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