Winter Brothers: Prime Video ~ Non-Spoiler Review

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Image shows a photo montage of scenes from Winter Brothers. Central photo is the theatrical poster for the film.


WINTER BROTHERS aka Vinterbrødre (2017) is a Danish arthouse drama film. 1hr 35 min. Subtitles. Amazon Prime Video. Cert 16+ U.K.


Elliott Crosset Hove as Emil
Simon Sears as Johan
Victoria Carmen Sonne as Anna
Lars Mikkelsen as Carl
Peter Plaugborg as Daniel
Anders Hove as Long-haired Man
Michael Brostrup as Michael
Jannik Jensen as Soldier
Christopher Lillman as Worker
Laurits Honoré Rønne as August


Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Cinematographer: Maria von Hausswolff
Writer: Hlynur Pálmason
Music: Toke Brorson Odin
Sound: Hans Christian Arnt Torp, Lars Halvorsen


Two brothers work in a rural chalk-mining community during a cold winter. We follow them, their routines, habits, rituals and a violent feud that erupts between them and another family.

Background Notes:

Lars Mikkelsen will be known to many but the other (perhaps) familiar faces in this movie include:
Elliott Crosset Hove ~ The Bridge S4 as Kevin
Simon Sears ~ Ride Upon the Storm as Christian, Follow the Money as Tobias
Peter Plaugborg ~ Darkness: Those Who Kill as Mikkel Velin, Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes as “Lasse” Jensen
Anders Hove ~ The Bridge S3 as Fabian, Seaside Hotel S4 as Aage Svensen and The Killing S1

The director, Hlynur Pálmason, is Icelandic but lives and works principally in Denmark.


This will be a polarising movie and it does have flaws, but as a directorial feature debut it is very impressive at times.

The story itself is quite thin, with much revolving around the central character of Emil. Emil, the oddity, the social misfit, the one with an obsession about the only female in the vicinity. There is a sense of pent up danger surrounding Emil. One thing the story does do is circumvent expectations. I will say no more, since this is a non-spoiler review.

The director obviously had a very clear vision of what this would look like on screen and for the most part it is very impressive visually. Some of the cinematography and effects – such as the massive explosion at the snow covered mine – are incredible. A long tracking dolly shot of the two brothers talking while walking through the woods is beautiful.

In contrast is the use of a completely still camera and character, with other activity passing across. Beautifully framed shots are scattered throughout this movie. The scenes down the mine are realistically lit (so no, you can’t see much). Images of white chalk-coloured water running into drains… There is also one very unusual moment in the film where “characters” are shown individually, at one moment in time, in a set pose. That part feels almost like a photo album and is oddly effective.

A terrific fight scene is realistic in its pauses and restarts. Less impressive however is the pacing of the film which is often all over the place. And some characters, such as the almost cipher-like Anna, would have strengthened the whole story had they been developed more. The acting throughout this is excellent.

Two standout aspects are the music and sound design. For those who have watched Chernobyl, the industrial soundscape, combined with the washed out palette (see photos in montage) are similar and equally effective.

I would recommend this movie for those who are less concerned with story and definitely not anyone who will be shocked by male nudity. It is an off-kilter, slightly odd offering with haunting imagery. In some respects it reminds me of a Yorgos Lanthimos film.


Winter Brothers received 29 wins and 29 nominations. Just some of the wins are:
Bodil Award Best Film 2018
Bodil Award Best Cinematography 2018
Robert Award Best Film 2018, Best Director, Best Actor Elliott Crosset Hove, Best Supporting Actress Victoria Carmen Sonne, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume, Best Make-Up, Best Sound

⚠️ Contains male nudity and strong language.

Trailer (brief nudity):

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