After a drug deal goes bad, M (Christoffer Latvala) finds himself on the run from cops in Sweden. When he comes across a car wreck, and finds one year old Älva (Leia Bergqvist) as the sole survivor, he takes the child into his care for the sole purpose of duping cops into thinking he’s someone he’s not (they’re not looking for a guy with a kid). As his plans to escape to Finland get more and more complicated, he finds it harder to rid himself of his new companion.
For the most part, Johan A. Bergqvist’s Amber doesn’t tread all that much new ground; the idea of a hardened criminal, or strong and silent loner, affected by his new traveling partner, whether it be a young kid or other innocent he must protect, is pretty familiar at this point. What maybe isn’t so common is the fact that our protagonist M is pretty much a massive bastard throughout.
While he may have opportunities for redemption sprinkled here and there, the majority of his choices are of a violent or otherwise morally questionable variety. Even taking care of the young girl, while M definitely softens in enough ways to become slightly more likeable, for the most part he’s a scumbag drug dealer who, perhaps any other day of the week, might have made even worse decisions.
So there’s an obstacle for the audience, to a certain degree, in sticking with the story of such a character, especially considering the plot points revealed early on, and decisions that he makes along the way. Simply, M does not make it easy for anyone, including those watching the tale. It’s all a pretty unfortunate scenario, but if you look at the film as a character study, it becomes more engaging.
Ultimately, those are the elements the film most has to overcome in order to be successful with an audience: the familiarity of the story and the unlikeable nature of its main character. If you can get beyond those two points, see the film as familiar but still told with enough unique flavor to entice further attention, while also acknowledging the lead as the trainwreck he is without getting entirely turned off, then it’s actually a solid film. It certainly works on the objective technical scale regarding the look and sound of the film, and while the resolution isn’t all that surprising, there are enough levels of depth eventually given to M to make the film’s climax satisfying.
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