Netflix recently announced that it is upping the price for monthly streaming service. The notification included lofty rationalizations about the plethora of high-quality content they are providing for their customers. So many Netflix series and movies to choose from! Aren’t we lucky?
If the Netflix film, A Fortunate Man is any indication of high-quality, I’m afraid the company may be in trouble. Based upon a book called Lucky Per by Danish author Henrik Pontoppidan, the premise for the film is sound. A young man breaks free from his devoutly Christian family in Western Denmark to pursue an engineering degree in Copenhagen, where he enters the circle of wealthy Jewish intellectuals. A quick study in the laws of physics as well as in the laws of society, he transforms himself from country hick to worthy member of the banker society.
There are many things to appreciate in the film. The casting is solid, particularly in Esben Smed Jensen as Peter Sidenius, the protagonist. The acting and the cinematography are superb. The film digs into meaty themes of progressive vs. status quo ideologies, the sharp edges that divide poverty from wealth, mercenary vs. love, hubris, narcissism, pride, and the need to understand where and when to pick a battle. Despite a sense of contrived plot twists to illustrate modern progressive talking points that seem out of place in this period piece, I really wanted to love this film.
What is the problem? Netflix has apparently made a choice to present this fine Danish film with an English soundtrack. I was so disturbed by the off-sync dialogue that I kept stopping the film and restarting, thinking that perhaps there was a problem with my connection. But the problem persisted throughout the entire film. I realize, after the fact, that perhaps these fine Danish actors were speaking Danish and the English was dubbed over their action. Whatever caused the sync problem, it detracts from the film. A better solution would be for Netflix to present the film in its original Danish language with options for subtitles.
You can up your streaming prices, Netflix, but please don’t pander to your vision of American audiences.