Ignoring any traditional storytelling boundaries, “Allegro” is an existential masterpiece from Denmark about the flaws of perfection and the consequences of allowing your memories slip away into the unknown. Director Christoffer Boe definitely establishes himself as an auteur by merging the stylistic direction of Jean-Pierre Jeunet with the existential sensibilities of Charlie Kaufman, creating one of the most memorable films ever made.
Zetterstrom (Ulich Thomsen) is a pianist obsessed with performing flawlessly. It is this obsession that ousts everyone in his life that tries to get close to him, including his newfound love (Helena Christensen). When she finally walks out on him, Zetterstrom decides the best thing he can do to avoid regret and reflection, would be to erase this tragic memory all together and leave the town for good.
Already established in the music world, he makes his way to New York City where he continues to perform. Back in Copenhagen, in the area he lived in, the neighborhood becomes trapped to the outside world by an invisible wall. No one goes in and no one comes out. Since Zetterstrom destroyed his memory so easily, the rest of the world is excluded to return back to this area – now known as “The Zone” – unless he returns to open his memory back up to all that he lost.
But he must. He receives an invitation to come back to Copenhagen to play a concert and when he gets there, he receives another invitation with explicit details on how to secretly enter the impenetrable Zone. Looking at the Zone from the outside, he doesn’t even recognize his old neighborhood. It’s a perfect demonstration on how there are certain events in our lives (especially involving love) we can’t afford to forget.
Filled with poetic dialogue, brilliant visual effects, and storybook-style animated sequences, the film takes us down a road not often traveled. The music by composer Thomas Knak is heartbreaking and fun at the same time, fitting in perfectly within this world. Manuel Alberto Claro naturalistic photography amalgamates beautifully with this unnatural setting. Boe is a confident director crafting an otherwise simple tale about consequences of lost love into an existential masterpiece.
“Allegro” is one of those rare treats that reminds us why we go to the cinema in the first place. It’s one of the most original movies to come out in years and it’s also a rare film you want to watch again as soon as it’s over – the kind you’ll be thinking about for weeks, months, even years afterward.