For a film that's only thirteen minutes long, #TheBestOfIntentions (Han som ville henne så väl) packs quite a bit of depth and happenings in its two-character, single room setup.
The Best of Intentions comes to us from Swedish director, Emil Jonsson, in his directorial film debut. It stars Per Ragnar (#LetTheRightOneIn) and Jonsson himself, having been an actor for the past 15 years. The film has been featured at multiple film festivals around the world, including the Gothenburg International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus.
'Beyond This Door Is Another Dimension'
The short tells the story of a man by the name of Kjell (Ranger) — a father who believes that one of the workers in the care home where his mentally-disabled daughter is cared for, is sexually abusing his (not so) little girl. That worker is named Jocke (Jonsson), and when mercilessly confronted with accusations of sexual abuse, he becomes nervous and defensive, but still keeps his composure and refuses to back down.
The result is an awkward conversation between the two that is full of tension and emotion. It's dark and nail-biting as the details of this highly-volatile situation unfold and come to light — you find yourself unsure who to side with, building to a very effective finale. The film does a great job of making the viewer feel boxed into this situation with no escape, much like the characters (particularly Jocke) themselves. The Best of Intentions is described as being "in the vein of old #TwilightZone episodes" and it is just that.
Both men put on fantastic performances. You can really get a sense of what they're both feeling through just their expressions with no need for dialogue. Kjell is great as the unforgiving and anger-fueled father, while Jocke shines as the "regular guy" care-worker who keeps his cool in the face of danger.
The Best of Intentions is an excellent debut for Emil Jonsson that tackles the themes of judgement and how love and emotions can cloud it. It explores rational vs. irrational thinking and love vs. commitment, the dangers of misunderstanding and mistrust and the dangers of assumption. The title alone should give you an indication of those themes. "Good Intentions" doesn't normally spell a good time.
Letting The Wrong One In
Most of the drama in The Best of Intentions comes from what is "not seen, but inferred," and the film is full of symbolism. The numb sounds of the score and the use of camera focus, noise and long still-shots focused on what seem like mundane objects help further immerse you into Kjell's broken and clouded mind.
One thing I particularly liked when it came to capturing those emotions came from the camera work — often using facial close ups, over-the-shoulder and lots of still, dynamic shots like something out of a comic book. The camera often focuses on the character who is the most emotionally at stake when something is being said, and this really helped sell the story and illustrate what both characters are going through.
I often find it difficult to become emotionally invested in a short film, but what's presented here not only had me invested — it has me still thinking about it hours later. I very much look forward to seeing what Jonsson does next.
Check out the film in its entirety below:
What are some of your favorite short horror films?