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Nicolas Winding Refn`s second feature film after the tour-de-force gangster story that was "Pusher", is a rather different, though no less provocative affair.
"Bleeder" from 1999, is more of a stylised social drama which re-unites the leading cast members from the previous film, this time as a group of friends who hang-out around the local video store getting together to watch crime/martial-arts movies. The main characters are Leo and Lenny played by Bodnia and Mikkelsen respectively; the drama centres around Leo`s reaction to his partner`s announcement that she is pregnant - something the immature, gloomy underachiever Leo is not prepared for, resulting in violent and destructive outbursts, eventually bringing him into conflict with Louis, his partner`s volatile and ever-so-slightly psychotic brother.
A gentler, amusing sub-plot is the tentative relationship between the socially inept film-geek Lenny and bookworm waitress Lea; on the surface she seems to inhabit a different intellectual world, but at one point, Lea asks the bookstore owner for books by Hubert Selby Jr. which suggests their tastes in subject matter may well be very compatible.

This is another slice of the low-end side of life in Denmark; no-one here is involved in crime with the possible exception of Louis, although it's never made clear just what Leo`s work is - he certainly has one dodgy connection.There are some nasty racist scenes involving Louis and the violence - when it comes - is all the more shocking for its unexpectedness - especially the scenes of domestic violence. It's a tragic story, but with some very funny moments. There's a subtle subtext about cinema and storytelling threaded within this film that I can`t quite pin down, but in many ways it's a memorable and thought-provoking work - it's certainly stayed with me long after viewing, which leads me to recommend it highly.

Don`t expect another Pusher, it hasn't the intensity of that film's race-against-time, crime-world setting; this is a bleak but rather moving little drama dealing with relationships - predominantly viewed from a male perspective, escapism and how characters cope - or fail to cope - in a shabby, mundane world.
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on 3 November 2000
Bleeder is a very tough movie, but is at the same time extremely funny in many of its scenes. The change between tragic horror and amusement does not seem artificial at all.
Although at first glance it is an extremely violent film, it really is about love as well as human tragedy.
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As compelling as a slo-mo car crash, this grittily realistic European drama showcases some stunning performances - not least from Kim Bodnia and Mads Mikkelsen. It's a bleak, bitter view of grinding urban life, and of the conflicting pressures which rip relationships apart.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn brilliantly captures the relentlessly miserable mundanity of low-rent urban existence. As with so many of his films there is sudden, unflinching violence - but it's balanced by sequences of pure poignancy, and dialogue which veers from laugh-out-loud comedy to wince-inducing soul-skewering accuracy.
Bleeder is all about miscommunication and the slow erosion of hope. Yet it ends on an upward beat, of sorts.
Speaking of beats, the soundtrack is ripping, too.
Not as commercial or easy to enjoy as Refn's more recent films, but a must-see for world cinema / Euro noir enthusiasts.
8/10
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I really wanted to like ‘Bleeder’ – a Danish thriller with a young Mads Mikkelsen and The Bridge’s Kim Bodnia. It started off well – it introduced us to four men who hung around together with a mutual love of films. This led to some nice dialogue exchanges which built character and created a genuine atmosphere among them. However, the best thing about the build up was the sense that something not very nice was brewing and it was all going to explode sooner or later. Unfortunately, it all exploded later rather than sooner.

Yes, there were a couple of pretty horribly dark moments towards the end of the film, but we’re talking VERY near the end of the film. Therefore, by the time you’ve got the pay-off you’ve been waiting for it’s all over.

Now, I can hear the fans of the movie claiming that I hate films with slow build up that focus on character development and that the only movies I watch involve car chases and over-used CGI. That’s not true. I have nothing against slower non-Hollywood output. In fact, I prefer them to constant Michael Bay-style offerings. It’s just in this case I felt everything that was good (and there was a lot of good) just seemed not enough when it came to the minuscule moments of ‘pay offs.’

I just sat there through one long drawn out dialogue scene after the next waiting for something that, when it did finally come, seemed like too little too late.

There’s also a romantic sub-plot that seems to be have been crowbarred in. And, finally, there’s Mikkelsen himself. When it was all over I realised that his character (despite being one quarter of the film’s protagonists) could probably have been omitted all together.

Bleeder is a good film. There’s too much right with it to condemn it all together. It will definitely have an audience, but just don’t expect wall-to-wall fight scenes or explosions. It’s the very definition of a ‘slow burner.’
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on 21 May 2012
Im not so sure about this film , it seemed rather dated and didnt really get any where . I loved the Pusher trilogy so I was maybe expecting far too much . Interesting to see very young Mads Mikkelsen and Kim Bodnia [ The Bridge].
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on 3 December 2015
Great
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on 30 January 2015
as described and fast delivery.
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