While it's competent, engaging moviemaking with a bracingly downbeat appeal, everything about Annette K. Olesen's In Your Hands, except for the gender of the principals, is unpleasantly reminiscent of HBO's ludicrously plotted muscle-bound prison soap opera, Oz. There seems little point to the Dogme trappings (the Danish movement long since abandoned by its "founder," Lars von Trier) if the work is going to veer into such hyperbolic, melodramatic territory in its plot. The potential is there for the story to surprise in the turns it takes, but the presentation is so dreary and dour that we come to expect the worst. These flaws are mitigated to some extent by the effectively restrained performances of Olesen's cast, particularly Trine Dyrholm as the serenely self-possessed would-be savior, Kate, and sad-eyed Nicolaj Kopernikus as Henrik, the guard who is drawn to her against his better judgment. Olesen does offer occasional respite from the grimness of the material in lighter, tender moments between Kate and Henrik, and between Anna (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen) and her caring husband, Frank (Lars Ranthe). But there's a feeling of inevitability to the movie's resolution, which exacerbates the sense of intended profundity. This portentousness does not serve the story well.
by Josh Ralske review