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The Exception (Undtagelsen) - Film Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published January 24th 2021
New Scandi noir movie starring Borgen actress
Borgen actress Sidse Babett Knudsen leads this latest Scandi-noir offering alongside a stellar female cast, but will it keep you gripped?

The Exception, Danish film, film reviews,
Tense new Danish film The Exception


Based on the best-selling novel by Christian Jungersen and originally called Undtagelsen, this new Danish psychological thriller is a tense movie with an atmospheric orchestral soundtrack of chaotic strings that raise the unease.

Like most of the Scandi genre, it's a slow burner - as much about the characters as the beautiful minimalistic home decor and hygge atmosphere.

While much of it is an office-based drama concentrating on four female colleagues, director Jesper Westerlin Nielsen and Christian Torpe, who adapted the book to screen, interrupt the plot with flashbacks and hallucinations to raise the temperature of intrigue and menace.

The story follows the co-workers at a research centre for genocide in Copenhagen, whose already fragile relationship is further put to the test when two of them receive death threats. After initially suspecting a Serbian war criminal, attention turns more inward as they start to turn on each other.

The Exception, film review, scandi, Danish films
Amanda Collin plays Maline in The Exception


Surrounded by books on some of the worst crimes in mankind in an eerily empty building only adds to that tension. Piecing the story together with interludes that connect traits seen in genocide with behaviours emerging in all four women, it's an intriguing and clever storyline, albeit a little slow in tempo.

Each has their own back story and character flaws with Knudsen playing a role far more weak-willed than how she's normally seen as enigmatic Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen. She is still as mesmerising on screen however, holding most of the attention.

Alongside her are an excellent Amanda Collin, from Raised By Wolves, Lene Maria Christensen, who Scandi fans may recognise from series The Legacy, and Danica Curcic, seen in The Mist and Silent Heart. It's a strong all-round cast that are the reason you keep watching.

Women in fact are the focus of this atmospheric tale and Nielsen reflects that well with all the men in their life, even their boss, remaining almost shadows in the background.

All of them are deeply troubled - from the survivor of an African hostage situation to someone caught in a disturbing relationship.

Sidse Babett Knudsen, The Exception, danish film reviews
Fans of Borgen will enjoy seeing Sidse Babett Knudsen


Alongside the twists, there are very dark moments in this drama as it verges into the territory of genocides around the world past and present.

Don't expect a fast-moving action thriller as this is about getting under the skin of the characters. It will keep you guessing and changing your mind throughout, and that's what I particularly liked.

And as a fan of Scandi noir, I soaked up the mounting tension, candle-lit homes and metrosexual Nordic love interests with glee as it wound its way through a variety of twists and turns to a satisfying ending.


The Exception is now available across all major digital platforms including iTunes, AppleTV, Sky Store, Google Play, Amazon, Virgin, Curzon Home Cinema & Chili. Also, BT on rental only from Feb 1, 2021.

Distributor: Parkland Entertainment
Digital Release Date: 22nd January
Digital Platforms: iTunes, Sky Store, Google Play, Amazon, Virgin, Curzon Home Cinema, CHILI & BT (rental only 1st Feb)
Director: Jesper W. Nielsen
Cast: Danica Curcic, Amanda Collin, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Lene Maria Christensen
Run Time: 115 Mins
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Why? Beguiling new Danish psychological thriller starring Borgen actress
When: From January 22, 2021
Where: On digital platforms
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