A brooding psychosexual character study that oftentimes flirts with the surreal, Danish film Victim of Love offers striking visuals and gripping performances. Writer/director Jesper Isaksen has crafted a fine debut feature with a brooding, hypnotic flair.
Danish-American man Charly (Rudi Køhnke) is staying in the same Copenhagen hotel where his girlfriend Amy (Louise Cho) disappeared a few months earlier. He hits alcohol and cocaine hard, spending seemingly more time under their influences than actually looking for Amy, which he tells others is his reason for being there. Hotel bartender Felicija (Siff Andersson) is a goth denizen of the city nightlife, and she takes Charly on a whirlwind night of partying, and the two eventually wind up in bed together.
Charly is haunted by visions of both Amy and a masked murderer, some appearances on the simple side and others much trippier. When Felicija begins to play in his visions too, the proceedings get much darker and more sinister.
Charly is a difficult character to get behind as compared with traditional protagonists, but Køhnke’s portrayal of this complex man is undeniably terrific. He and Andersson have crackling chemistry together, with the latter inhabiting her streetwise character with a nice balance of toughness and vulnerability.
Isaksen creates a neon-soaked dreamworld inhabited by characters who walk a fine line between fascinating and unlikeable, peppered with hallucinatory sequences reminiscent of David Lynch and David Cronenberg, without ever overstepping into homage. He builds a pensive, heavy atmosphere with an alluring visual approach.
Victim of Love, in English and Danish with English subtitles, is a complex film that rewards viewers with its bold flair, stirring visuals and cinematography, and captivating performances. It’s a hallucinatory trip well worth taking.
Victim of Love screened as part of the Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, which ran online from December 11–27, 2020.