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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.

    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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