The Door sees Casino Royale‘s Le Chiffre (Mikkelsen) star as a German family man who faces huge feelings of guilt after his young daughter dies in a tragic accident. But five years later, after contemplating suicide, he finds a mysterious tunnel that leads to a door that opens up into the world five years previously. Able to save his daughter, and accidentally killing his other self, David takes up living there, hiding the body and masquerading as the real David as he is given a second chance. However his web of lies soon begins to untangle, and he realises he is not the only user of the mysterious door.
Based on the novel Die Damalstuer by Akif Pirinçci (Germanys answer to Stephen King) the film crosses over several genres, blending together elements of sci-fi, horror, and drama, and there are some very interesting ethical ideas and questions asked by Davids odd dilemma. There is perhaps not enough of each element to satisfy straight out fans of each genre - it lacks enough gore to satisfy horror fans looking for a grim European spectacle of blood, or enough time travel for the film to really be labelled as sci-fi, but the high quality of the acting and cinematography clearly set this aside from the usual straight to DVD film you might at first expect The Door to be.
The sci-fi time travel element of the film is never explained or even questioned by David, and the fact that the plot focuses simply on a family drama makes for an unusual premise for a time-travel film, although it does leave a lot of unanswered questions, and as the film progresses it rapidly descends into the slightly ridiculous. However this is also satisfying as the plot surprises at every junction, and the human family drama side of the film is very convincing. Whilst wife Maja (Schwarz) suspects something is up and daughter Leone (Valeria Eisenbart) knows David is not her real dad, David quickly struggles to make up ridiculous explanations for his seemingly odd behaviour to his family.
Aesthetically The Door offers some beautiful imagery for a film that is set amongst the suburbs. Well lit and framed, there are some memorable shots that capture Davids early confusion and joy, and then escalating panic as the situation spirals out of control. The soundtrack is a little overbearing and leans too much towards the typical tension-creating horror/drama tones, but its not too jarring and is mostly bearable. Anno Saul’s direction is faultless, pulling great performances out of all the cast alongside a well paced and shot film.
Altogether The Door is definitely worth a second glance, a unique story presented via an enjoyable watch. Mads Mikkelsen is a joy to watch as always and its worth looking out for him in the upcoming films Clean Out alongside Noomi Rapace and A Royal Affair (A Danish royal drama penned by Lars Von Trier).
The DVD extras include interviews with the films director, cast & producers,as well as the usual deleted scenes and trailer – pre-order The Door on DVD here