Ti kniver i hjertet ( Cross My Heart and Hope to Die) is one of the coming of age films I have always wanted to see. For no particular reason really – other than its title which grabbed my attention. Now after I have seen it – I am quite confused by it , which does not come as a surprise keeping in mind that Ti kniver i hjertet is a Norwegian movie and these sometimes have the tendency to be abstract or are hard to interpret. As seen on the cover, the movie is being marketed as being filmed “in the tradition of My Life As A Dog”. As I have seen that one too – I could only agree with that, especially when it comes to the director’s choice of letting the viewer wonder what was the main idea he intended to project in his work.
To me the idea behind the film is trying to answer the question :
Is there a decision which, once taken, can shape your whole life?
The movie seeks to answer that question while telling the coming of age tale of Otto (Martin Dahl Garfalk) – a young boy who lives in a quiet, small town in Norway. It’s an ordinary town, inhabited with…an ordinary people (or are they?). Otto is a quiet boy and his shyness makes him an outsider amongst his teammates on the local football team. One day, while observing the other boys playing, a strange teenager appears on the benches. He gets Otto’s attention and then makes an odd request …
Later on, Otto and that ” stranger ” become friends and this friendship changes the way Otto sees the world around him. Yet when they discover a dead body – things change – there is some mystery surrounding Franc (the new friend of Otto). That discovery, and later ones formed by his observation of the adults’ behavior around him, shape Otto’s coming of age experience.
Admittedly, Cross My Heart and Hope to Die is not my kind of film. That’s why I would hestitate in recommending it. Yet, from other reviews I have read, I know that some people are rather fond of it. In his Variety review , Leonard Clady calls Ti kniver i hjertet ” an arresting and novel coming-of-age tale, “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die” is yet another intelligent, entertaining youth drama from Norway”. I found the film too grim and moody for my taste.
In the end, I will leave it up to you to decide if the film is worth watching – and when you do see it , come back to this review and let me know your opinion of it…