Review: Swedish Short Film ALIVE Is Pitched Perfectly

4 out of 5 stars

Swedish writer-director Jimmy Olsson’s Alive is a wonderful character study about friendship, love and lust in the 21st Century. The short film poses some interesting questions about love in the modern world and it features very impressive performances from its two leads, Eva Johansson and Madeleine Martin.

Alive follows Victoria (Johansson), a disabled woman who is frustrated that she isn’t in a relationship. Her carer Ida (Martin) hatches a plan to help her find love by setting up a Tinder profile. However, once Victoria gets a match, Ida becomes worried that the man in question might not be suitable for her friend. 

Shorts have always had a way of tackling subjects which may not have found a home in feature films and the internet now offers them much more longevity than the occasional festival run. It’s great that a film like this Swedish language drama has the potential to be seen by a large audience. It’s such an intriguing little film which features some playful humour to lighten the darker moments. 

Eva Johansson and Madeleine Martin are both exceptional in their respective roles. As the frustrated and disabled Victoria, Johansson gets to sink her teeth into a lot of emotional turmoil and heartbreak. It’s a riveting performance and we fully get to understand the frustrations which Victoria feels restrict her. Madeleine Martin is also wonderful as Ida. She has the opportunity to deliver a touch more colour to her character as we get to see her relationship with her boyfriend as well as Victoria. 

Alive is also very strong on a technical level. Cinematographer Staffan Övgård’s work is detailed, without ever feeling showy, while editor Anton Nilsson manages to have crafted a film which moves at a pace which feels perfect for this story. Every scene plays like it has the right rhythm and the right length – impressive for a film which runs less than 25 minutes. The score by composers Peter Gregson and Thomas Henley perfectly compliments the onscreen drama and the whole piece works as one very precise organic whole. 

Perfectly pitched and exceptionally put together, Alive is a thought-provoking drama which tackles a subject rarely touched on by mainstream films. This Swedish drama features two exceptional performances from its lead actors and its behind the scenes team have also delivered outstanding work. There’s much to enjoy and admire in Alive and it’s definitely a film worth seeking out – you won’t be disappointed.