“Teddy Bear” Review

By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic

Las Vegas Informer

“TEDDY BEAR’s” breakout star, Kim Kold, began a career as a competing amateur bodybuilder in 1996. Kold gained some fame after winning several bodybuilding competitions around Europe until he was chosen by a casting agent for a short film, “DENNIS.” The incredible YouTube success of “DENNIS” led to “TEDDY BEAR,” directed by Mads Matthiesen.

Kold’s performance is daring in its simplicity unlike anything on screen today. With actors hamming it up and competing with co-stars for screen time and histrionics (though I loved Sean Penn’s performance as Mickey Cohen in “THE GANGSTER SQUAD,” he did chew up the scenery. Personal note: My best friend in Las Vegas was journalist Polly Peluso – who know everyone – and introduced me to her best friend Liz Renay, who was Mickey Cohen’s girlfriend. Liz, who lived in Las Vegas, spent three years in prison at Terminal Island for refusing to inform on Cohen.) http://www.fromthebalcony.com/devilshammer.php?id=39

With the success of “TEDDY BEAR,” Kold has been rewarded with a role in “FAST & FURIOUS 6” with Vin Diesel and Dwyane Johnson opening in May 2013.

Compared to the emotional outlay Kold did in “DENNIS,” there should be no need for acting in “FAST & FURIOUS 6.”

Dennis (Kold) works as a security guard but his true passion is bodybuilding. He’s 38-years-old, six-foot-seven, 308 pounds, and a heavily tattooed champion. Dennis is uncommunicative and lives with his controlling, inappropriate mother, Ingrid (Elsebeth Steentoft).

I believe in a close relationship with one’s children, but everyone deserves time alone using the bathroom.

And this is a tiny bathroom in a modest 60’s style house outside Copenhagen dominated by stern chatelaine Ingrid. It is evidently clear that she demands all of Dennis’s time, thoughts and devotion.

Dennis is a failure with women. He only comes alive in the gym. When Dennis and Ingrid go to her brother’s (Allan Mogensen) cafeteria wedding to a Thai woman he met on one of those “select a Thai wife vacations,” he urges Dennis to follow his lead. Balding and aggressively unattractive, Uncle Bent is wildly in love with his Thai wife. He knows Dennis needs nonjudgmental female company. And how often does a man built like Dennis walk the crowded market of Pattya’s hungry prostitutes?

Dennis lies to Ingrid telling her he is competing in Germany. In Pattaya, he has the name of Bent’s facilitator.

The pressure is off with Thai women. You’re a foreigner with money and they will gladly “love you long time.”

I know someone in his 50’s – an outspoken, free spirited character – who goes to Thailand several times a year for several months each visit – he has a condo in Pattaya – and proudly indulges in Thailand’s famed sex tourism. “The Commander” (his nom de plume) has started a column giving all the blow-by-blow details including costs per girl. One Night in Bangkok

Dennis certainly is a striking presence on the streets of Pattaya. Packs of young girls line the streets grabbing on to Dennis. At the facilitator’s bar, Dennis is set up with a young woman. But he can’t perform.

Finding the local gym, where he is surprised to learn he is known in the Thai bodybuilding community, he is in his realm, posing and exhibiting joy. He comes alive.

There he meets a lonely widowed woman, Toi (Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard), who owns the local gym. Dennis attempts a friendship with her. All goes well until she takes him to her apartment.

Returning to home to his mother, Dennis must confront the steel, sterile woman who controls his life. The brief attempt at normalcy has changed Dennis. He daringly sends for Toi.

“TEDDY BEAR” was directed by Mads Matthiesen and written by Matthiesen and Martin Zandvliet.

Kold, not an actor, astonishes on screen. His body commands every scene and silently Kold relates Dennis’s anguish and psychological impotence. With one smile, Kold expresses Dennis’s inner psyche. His remarkable performance stays with you. His silence conveys all the dialogue one needs to understand the man.

“TEDDY BEAR” is distributed by FilmMovement.com. You can purchase individual titles on DVD or stream them online. Film Movement has many types of DVD collections. Their newest releases are only available to subscribers. Film Movement’s Film-of-the-Month Club offers the best award-winning independent and foreign movies to subscribers on DVD or online streaming.

Victoria Alexander

Victoria Alexander is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org/ and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/. Victoria’s weekly column, “The Devil’s Hammer,” is posted every Monday. http://www.fromthebalcony.com/editorials.php.

If you would like to be included on Victoria’s private distribution list for a weekly preview, just email her at masauu@aol.com. Victoria lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email. You can contact Victoria directly at masauu@aol.com.

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