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The Independent Critic

Christian Bagger
Robert Ian Simpson, William Schneider
Running Time
23 Mins.
Neil Jackson, Steven Brand

 "15-40" Review 
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Filmed on an estimated $65,000 budget, this American-made film loosely follows the true story of 40's Denmark tennis player, Kai Hansen, a competitive young man well on his way to winning a spot at the European championships in Sweden. His final round opponent, Erik Bjarnson, is a Jew who has become aware that the night of their match the Nazis plan to go from peacefully co-existing in Denmark to implementing their "Final Solution" in their country. If Bjarnson wins, he has hopes of making it to the safety of Sweden. If he loses, he may end up on the trains to the concentration camps.

"15-40" is one of the winners of the Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award for student filmmaking during the 2008 Heartland Film Festival. Filmed in black and white, Bagger nicely captures the mood and haunting atmosphere that must've been present in a nation that largely believed itself immune from the Nazi rampage. However, the performances in "15-40" don't always hold up to the film's weighty subject, and despite the film's considerable heft I found myself rather surprised to have felt nothing for either of the lead characters by the film's end.