Review: Daisy

Written and directed by Torbjörn Edwall, two dairy farmers go out looking for a cow gone missing. Their search leads them deep into a mystery that will have them questioning themselves and the world as they know it. Starring: Peter Mörlin, Emma Broomé and Livia Millhagen.

One of the greatest things that any piece of cinema can do is to create a personality for itself through tone and genre that stops you from being able to put it in a singular box. To build something which fluidly moves and adapts as time goes on, that’s what Torbjörn Edwall achieves with Daisy. Whatever you may think this film is, or where it might be going, you’re unlikely to ever guess right on the money, which is what makes it a lot of fun. Capturing that unexpected nature, while bringing through a sense of humour and blanketing it with such a strong sincerity and realism, is a stellar combination. It allows Edwall to basically take this story in any and all direction that he likes because the writing has such a captivating personality. Being able to play around and not take yourself seriously, while creating a genuine tension and mystery is not an easy thing to do but interestingly it is something that Swedish cinema excels at and Daisy is another great example.

Part of why the story can hold such a superb tension and sincerity is the incredible quality to the visual. The aesthetic is extremely satisfying in its detail and colour. Edwall’s framing and shot choices have a hugely established feel, and there’s a great use of lighting to add some additional texture. The atmosphere that is sets is one which flits from genre to genre, from mystery to sci-fi to thriller to horror, and it does it extremely well. Using effects can be a risky choice with short film, there isn’t always the budget and time to make them strong enough but here, they’re exactly what you could hope for. They’re of a great quality, they’re not overused and they add to the story.

The other element which strengthens the balance, the genre bending and pushes that sense of humour, is the performances from Peter Mörlin and Emma Broomé. They’re simply terrific, the way that they capture the typical relationship tensions is utterly believable. How they deliver the dialogue and body language means that it can have this perfect backhanded quality. It’s not throwing the comedy straight out there but it’s coming through naturally with sarcasm. Broomé brings a touch of apathy which leans into the humour while Mörlin enhances the mystery. Filling Lars with a determination to find out what’s happening, he has a fantastic presence and leads viewers through this story with a lot of sympathy and charm.

Daisy is a superbly shot, fun, mysterious and tense short. It has such an excellent blend of genre and is genuinely unexpected. The writing and direction are both of such a terrifically high quality that it’s impossible not to be drawn in by them. Peter Mörlin and Emma Broomé are really enjoyable to watch and feel very real and grounded. The truly wonderful thing about it is that the visual has such an impactful presence, like that of a drama but it uses that in its favour to create something slightly silly and a good time. All of which is even more impressive given that it’s Torbjörn Edwall’s debut short.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯½ | 9/10

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