← Back to Reviews

Copenhagen Does Not Exist

Copenhagen Does Not Exist

Sander meets a woman by the name of Ida when exiting a theater. They quickly fall in love and eventually move in together. But when Ida suddenly disappears Sander finds himself interrogated by her father.

This is a movie that's mainly a drama with thriller as more of a backdrop. The main focus is on Sander and Ida's relationship, and how it gradually falls to pieces. The way that it's written is different from many other films, in that we're never really sure of how much they feel for each other. Is this really love, or just a desperate search for happiness?

The ambivalence towards them as a couple is wellhanded throughout, as we get to witness how they may do each other more harm than good staying together. Sander is kind of an emotional black hole, where he might seem affectionate and caring but kinda treats Ida as his possession (exemplified by the scene where he in a bragging manner shows off nude photos of her to friends). His confession that he sometimes does nothing but stare at her for hours as she's listening to music is creepy more than it is cute. While Ida is suffering from some form of depression as she cuts off the entirety of her and Sander's own social life.

Jonas Holst Schmidt and Angela Bundalovic do good jobs at portraying these mysterious characters, keeping the audience on edge as we are waiting for the dagger that puts the final blow on their relationship. Zlatko Buric does an excellent job as the anguished father Porath as well, drawing attention to every pause and moment of silence as he interrogates Sander. He has proven to be a real force in acting, and I'm sorry I didn't discover him until just last year. Vilmer Trier Brøgger as Ida's brother Viktor doesn't have as much to do, but is solid for the material he gets.

Be prepared however that this is not a thriller meant to make you sweat or gnaw at your fingernails.
WARNING: spoilers below
The shock near the end is melancholy rather than cerebral in nature, which fits the melancholy tone of the story. There is also no closure, as Ida's father will never find out what truly happened to his daughter. Is that unsatisfying on some level? Absolutely. We want nothing more than for Porath to dig his claws into Sander for being the son of a bitch who murdered Ida. But it adds a depressing realism to the story, that some people are perfectly capable of getting away with horrific actions if the victim didn't have anyone they were close with.

In both Sander and Ida's case however, their issues ran much deeper than one single person could've solved. They didn't help each other from drowning. They drowned together instead.

As for minor flaws, the plot can feel a bit slow at times, where it's marinating for a while before picking up some steam again. And although I'm satisfied enough with what we got, Sander wasn't quite as well-developed as Ida. Why did he fall in love with her so quickly and passionately, to the point where he passively lets her ruin his social life? The latter part in particular is a bit unclear to me.

Eskil Vogt continues to prove himself as an interesting voice in modern cinema. If you're a fan of slowburn thrillers or his work in general, you'll want to visit Copenhagen while it still doesn't exist.