Where is the limousine going? To the “most beautiful place in the world”, says Emilie (Eva Green) of her sister Ines (Alicia Vikander). Her face shows an ecstatic smile – that must be her, the eponymous euphoria of Lisa Langseth’s third feature film. Which, to put it mildly, is misleading, because apart from this small moment, pain, anger and sadness dominate the emotional world of the main characters. Understandable: The journey of the sisters – after a long time without contact – is the last for Emilie. She suffers from an incurable cancer, and the “most beautiful place in the world” is a dreamily located luxury hotel, whose special service consists in the serving of a deadly poison cocktail. Emilie would like to drink it after six days and come to terms with Ines during this time. But the younger one, who didn’t know anything about the disease, defends herself against the plan.
After thirty minutes, this setting is designed in “Euphoria” and from then on it is completely predictable what will happen in the remaining seventy minutes. The Swedish director Lisa Langseth, who also wrote the screenplay, conceives the sisters as an extreme pair of opposites whose task is simply to play through this antagonism to the point of reconciliation, which is never really in question. Emilie represents the sensitive injured side, Ines the controlled cold opposite pole. In their youth, the older one was always there for the depressed mother, the completely overwhelmed Ines evaded the situation by isolating herself from the family. The fact that her tank remains rock-hard even in the face of her sister’s imminent death is the dramaturgical drive of the film. From which not only verbal battles, but also physical arguments result.
Vikander produced the film with her own company
The hotel employee Marina, who plays Charlotte Rampling with an almost unnerving gentleness, acts as a mediator. Eva Green and Alicia Vikander also remain pale, locked in the narrow guidelines of their characters. Vikander even produced the film with her own company Vikarious and encouraged it to be oriented internationally instead of purely Swedish. For Langseth, in whose debut “The Inner Beauty of Things” Vikander played her first leading role in 2010, it is the English-language premiere; for Vikarious again the first production ever. The company wants to create works with strong female main characters.
How important this topic is for Vikander was shown recently by the new edition of “Tomb Raider”, in which she took the title role. “Euphoria” can also score with three large female parts. It is also remarkable how unsentimental the tone and how morally free the perspective on euthanasia is. Whereby the hotel – once described as a “free zone, without judgment of the world” – in its beauty reserved only for the rich, represents the most ambivalent and most exciting character of this foreseeable drama.
Cinemaxx Potsdamer Platz, OmU: Cinema in the Kulturbrauerei