“A Day and a Half,” originally titled “En dag och en halv,” is the latest Swedish crime thriller now available for streaming on Netflix. This gripping film, both written and directed by Fares Fares, features him in the role of a composed police officer tasked with brokering a critical agreement when confronted by a would-be kidnapper. Alongside Fares, the movie showcases the talents of Alexej Manvelov and Alma Pöysti, who portray an estranged couple plunged into turmoil due to this harrowing hostage situation. While the movie primarily revolves around the officer’s intense negotiation efforts, it’s worth noting that the Netflix logline may not accurately capture its compelling essence.
Film Analysis :
“A Day and a Half goes beyond action-packed sequences set against a tense backdrop in Sweden; it delves deep into the complex inner conflicts of its characters. The film bravely explores themes of racism, immigration, nationality, and the dynamics of dysfunctional families. Rather than simplifying the narrative to a negotiator dealing with a troubled individual, it meticulously examines the motivations behind the protagonist’s daring criminal act. Therefore, the film’s logline should capture this nuanced exploration. While it is a gripping thriller, it may not leave as lasting an impression as some other films in the genre.”
A Day and a Half (2023) ‘Netflix’ Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
What is ‘A Day and a Half’ about?
“A Day and a Half follows the story of Lukas (portrayed by Fares Fares), a police officer, as he engages in negotiations with Artan (played by Alexej Manvelov). Artan has taken Lukas’s estranged wife, Louise (portrayed by Alma Pöysti), hostage at her workplace. The narrative commences with Artan’s arrival at the hospital where Louise is employed. He approaches the reception desk, requesting an appointment with a doctor. The receptionist instructs him to wait like any other patient. However, when his number is called, Artan insists on seeing Louise specifically. The receptionist explains that Louise is currently occupied. Artan, growing increasingly agitated, draws his firearm and threatens violence unless the staff complies and brings Louise to him.
The Hostage Situation :
Louise cautiously exits the room, her heart pounding as she spots Artan brandishing a weapon. Moments later, the sound of sirens fills the air as police cars converge on the scene, determined to defuse the hostage situation. Simultaneously, a call is made to the hospital to establish communication with the kidnapper. Artan, overwhelmed by the tense atmosphere, struggles to think clearly.
Beseeching Artan to lower the gun, Louise finds herself at its menacing muzzle as Artan attempts to terrorize others. He instructs a staff member to write a message on paper, demanding that one of the officers approach him without clothing. Lukas, who has just arrived at the scene, reluctantly takes on this task. Artan meticulously ensures that the officer is unarmed before allowing him to retrieve his clothes.
Lukas endeavors to learn Artan’s identity and motivations, but Artan evades the questions and remains uncooperative. When pressed about the motive behind his criminal act, Artan reveals his anguish over losing custody of his daughter, Cassandra, blaming Louise for his distress. Eventually, Artan permits the release of other hostages, but Doctor Kristin remains, concerned for Louise’s well-being. She assists Louise in obtaining the necessary medication to alleviate her anxiety.
Subsequently, Artan instructs Lukas to escort him to his vehicle while concealing both him and Louise under a curtain. Once inside the car, Lukas takes the wheel, with police cars tailing them closely.
The Car Chase:
Artan becomes alarmed as he notices a convoy of police vehicles tailing him. Fearing the consequences, he implores Lukas to avoid any rash actions. Lukas remains composed, striving to manage Artan’s growing anxiety. He firmly declines to accelerate, citing concerns about police involvement.
Suddenly, Artan’s phone rings, catching him off guard. The caller inquires about a kidnapping, leaving Artan perplexed about how strangers obtained his contact information. On the radio, a news report falsely claims there’s a bomb in the car. This misinformation intensifies Artan’s frustration, as he feels unjustly painted as a more significant criminal by the authorities.
Lukas notices the car’s low fuel level and suggests to Artan that they should make a pit stop at the nearest gas station. After some persuasion, Artan reluctantly agrees. However, upon arriving at the first station, Artan spots police cars nearby and decides against stopping, suspecting it might be a setup. He then requests to continue to another station a bit further down the road.
While Lukas refuels the car and returns, Artan, still feeling uneasy, checks himself to ensure he hasn’t accidentally carried any prohibited items. As they resume their journey, Artan repeatedly brings up the topic of Louise not wearing her expensive ring, growing increasingly frustrated.
Artan and Louise’s Past
“Despite Louise’s refusal to yield to Artan’s anger, he accuses her of abandoning their daughter in Antarctica, believing she had attempted to harm the child. Lukas steps in to mediate their marital conflict, but neither of them is receptive. Artan discloses that Louise gave birth to their daughter in scalding water, a consequence of her ongoing psychosis. Artan’s rage appears boundless as he berates Louise for her parenting. Eventually, he expresses a desire to see his daughter and requests Lukas to visit Louise’s parents’ home. Stefan, her father, offers Artan a chance to see Cassandra if he relinquishes his weapon, but Artan adamantly refuses.”
Observing Lukas’ behavior in this situation, Artan inquired whether Lukas had encountered similar incidents before. Lukas confided in Artan about his own tumultuous family history, which included an extramarital affair that led to his son rejecting his custody. Much like Artan, Lukas did not attempt to force his son’s return or disrespect his choice. Lukas emphasized that addressing the consequences of one’s actions takes precedence over the actions themselves.
“Lukas cautions Artan about the impossibility of taking a child in their vehicle. While he endeavors to persuade Artan, Stefan suddenly appears, brandishing a firearm with the intention of shooting his son-in-law. Lukas intervenes to prevent Artan from being harmed. Following the altercation, Lukas, along with Artan, Louise, and Cassandra, resumes their journey towards Arlanda. Shortly thereafter, Officer Jack, a negotiator from the National Task Force, establishes contact with Lukas. He positively identifies Artan and Louise, as well as their daughter in the car. Subsequently, Officer Jack informs Artan that there are no available flights to Tirana for him and inquires about the possibility of a private aircraft, which, unfortunately, is not feasible.”
Jack reached out to the Albanian ambassador in Sweden with a proposal for Artan’s safe journey to Tirana, on the condition that Artan relinquish his weapon and allow his family to go free. However, Artan declined the offer, as it would require him to leave his family behind. Instead, he made the choice to board a boat to Poland, intending to make further decisions there. Despite Louise’s persistent attempts to persuade Artan to accept the safe passage, he remained determined to travel with his family by boat.
Observing Lukas’ behavior during this situation, Artan inquired whether Lukas had encountered similar incidents in the past. Lukas then shared his own experiences, revealing his strained family relationships due to an extramarital affair that led to his son rejecting his custody. Similar to Artan, Lukas had chosen not to contest his son’s decision and had shown respect for it. Lukas emphasized that managing the aftermath of a mistake held greater significance than the mistake itself.
A Day and a Half (2023) ‘Netflix’ Movie Ending Explained:
Does Artan manage to flee the country?
During their journey to the ferry, a group of troublemakers pelted their car with eggs, which frightened Cassandra to the point of tears. Artan and Louise remained relatively composed, but this sudden threat provoked an outburst of anger from Cassandra. In her emotional turmoil, she expressed how Artan had become a stranger to her, no longer resembling the man she had once loved. She lamented that he had not been there for her when she needed him, and had betrayed her with another woman without making amends, leaving deep wounds between them.
As they listened to the radio, Artan was unfairly portrayed as a villain due to his racial background. Upon reaching the ferry, Artan noticed police officers encircling their car. He handed his phone to Lukas, allowing him to connect with his son, Teo, and wish him a happy birthday. Though it was an early call for Teo, Lukas managed to exchange a few words with him, rekindling their distant relationship. Lukas became emotional during the conversation, and Artan requested that Lukas fetch him a cup of coffee and grant him a private moment with Louise, ensuring her consent before leaving.
In the end, Artan and Louise engaged in a heartfelt conversation about their lives beyond this incident and how it would shape their futures. Louise apologized for not meeting Artan at the café as originally planned. While reconciliation seemed unlikely, she extended an offer for Artan to stay in touch with Cassandra. Overwhelmed with emotion, Artan handed his gun to Louise, who dropped it out of the car window. As he stepped out of the car, he was promptly arrested by the waiting police officers, preventing him from fleeing the country. Nevertheless, he departed with a smile on his face.