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By Jess Fenton
16th July 2012

Set in Hungary in the mid-20th century, ‘The Door’ tells the story of two women, one a writer, the other a maid, both struggling to find their place in this post-war world and both in desperate need of each others' friendship, but neither willing to admit to it.

Based on the award-winning novel of the same name, it becomes obvious from the get-go that there is some serious ‘lost in translation’ happening. Between the odd and often messy tone of the film to the appalling and distracting dubbing over many of the characters' dialogue, it’s difficult to really settle into the story and become attached to the characters. The dialogue is abrasive and the scenes very matter-of-fact with little to no grace or ease to them. One might suspect that this was the director Istvan Szabo’s (‘Being Julia’) way of cutting out “fluff”, but it’s still in there, making this editing choice all the more bizarre and uncomfortable to watch. The music is also a misguided choice. Often a seamless accompaniment to any scene or film, the score for ‘The Door’ is brash, disjointed and not in keeping with the overall tone of the film.


Helen Mirren is clearly the drawcard here. She's of course resplendent as Emerenc, the prickly housekeeper with a troubling past and dark secrets. Mirren is a joy to watch in anything she works on, and ‘The Door’ is no exception.

If you can look past some of the bizarre direction taken throughout the film and its difficult subject matter, to focus on the real reason behind the film - the beautiful friendship between these two women - then you might want to read the book first to grasp the full impact of the story. Otherwise, this one’s probably not for you.

RELEASE DATE: 19/07/2012
RUN TIME: 1h 43m
CAST: Mads Mikkelsen
Jessica Schwarz
Valeria Eisenbart
Heike Makatsch
Tim Seyfi
Thomas Thieme
Stefan Gebelhoff
Suzan Anbeh
Nele Trebs
PRODUCER: Bjoern Vosgerau
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