Frederik Halling (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is a successful headteacher who one day suffers from an epileptic fit, only for doctors to determine he is suffering from a brain tumour. His wife Mia (Trine Dyrholm) and young son are also warned too that this man they hold so dearly may not be himself, potentially erratic, violent and impatient – and while they are required to support him through this difficult time, that may be done through gritted teeth at times, as they must learn to appreciate that his reprehensible actions are a result of his diagnosis.
Their love is put to the test when he is charged with embezzlement at his very own place of work, taking him to court, where he is represented by lawyer Bernard Berman (Michael Nyqvist), who like Mia, is also the partner of somebody suffering from a brain related injury. The evidence against Frederik is too much for him to claim his innocence – but what he can do, is pin his actions on his illness, hoping to convince the jury that when committing these crimes it wasn’t really himself doing it. But he may want to start by convincing his very own wife, as Mia struggles to figure out exactly who her husband is – and who she has really been married to all these years, as she becomes obsessed with neurobiology.
Fog must be commended for having this endeavour remain so compelling in parts, despite the rather complex narrative playing out in front of us. It helps having Dyrholm in the lead, for we embody the role of Mia and adopt her inability to make sense of the situation, as we also strive to determine exactly who Frederik really is just as she is, going through an existential crisis. It’s a nuanced performance for this terrific actress, as a character with so many conflicting emotions going on, and it’s a subtle, internalised display that not many could pull off in such an emphatic fashion. It’s also moving to see the late Nyqvist in a supporting lead role, with such a dependable screen presence that will be sorely missed.
You Disappear is flawed however, somewhat repetitive in its narrative structure as we move between the courtroom and flashbacks, but it doesn’t too much away from an intelligent, provocative feature. So while undoubtedly tedious in parts, it still makes for a rewarding cinematic experience when indulging in a feature that really makes you think.