Something Must Break
Notions of identity are inevitably the focus of Swedish film Something Must Break. This love story is experienced through sporadic narration of its two players, Andreas and Sebastian. Andreas, the punky James Dean-esque straight boy, falls for transgender Sebastian, whose true self is Ellie. The conflict between Ellie and Sebastian is interesting, something not commonly depicted in such a sincere and intentional way.
The development of Ellie from the first half to the second is clear, as her angsty brooding moroseness lifts and she becomes more of the strong character we hope her to be. This is Saga Becker’s debut, and she brings a tentative energy to the complicated role of Ellie and light to a somewhat dreary film. Andreas is played by Iggy Malmborg, who stars in acclaimed Swedish drama The Bridge, but here lacks the chemistry to make this complicated romance feel worth it. It’s a shame that there is so little between the lovers that the audience can hold on to; the lack of chemistry makes for a somewhat benign love story.
Although the character of Ellie is wholly more interesting, the depiction of heterosexuality in Andreas says a lot more about today’s society. His refusal to admit he is anything but straight throughout the movie, alongside his biker jacket and punky haircut, makes for an interesting comment about the evils of blind prejudice. The juxtaposition between the two is extreme at times, from Ellie’s physical effeminacy to the rigid social labels Andreas carries.
The slight shaky camera work and grainy shots, much like the dialogue,are effective in some moments, and in others seem forced. That said, the ethereal and slightly hallucinatory feeling that persists throughout the movie is effective and definitely adds something to the story. The viewer appreciates the confusion of the situation alongside Andreas, and comes to understand the pain of Ellie’s struggles.
The somewhat empty dialogue and extended angst sequences do tire quickly, but Becker’s refreshing performance holds the film together. Although at times overly tormented, Something Must Break opens up a world usually unexplored on screen. It does this without judgement or inhibition, and will no doubt achieve the success its subject matter deserves.
Something Must Break is released nationwide on 3rd April 2015.
Watch the trailer for Something Must Break here: