First off, the most amusing thing about Triple Dare is that it won a Robert Award in its native Denmark for best children/family film, yet gets slapped with an MA15+ rating here in Australia. It says a lot about the difference between Australian and European sensibilities when it comes to cinema, sexuality and particularly (horror of horrors!) teenage sexuality.
The premise is rather far-fetched, though it suits the overall exaggerated feel of the film, perhaps that of a cautionary tale. 15 year old Rebekka is sick of her age. She’s too young to buy alcohol yet the bus driver reckons she’s too old to buy a child’s fare. Her teacher doesn’t help, talking about rites of passage throughout history and the rituals that kids had to go through in order to become adults. Stubborn yet inspired, Rebekka dreams up a scheme together with her friends Sofie and Claudia. Instead of letting society makes the rules for them, they will come up with their own modern-day rituals. These take the form of dares, which each are required to perform under pain of public humiliation.
Though the film gets off to a shaky start – it’s hard to believe this would ever happen – once we’re into the first dare it’s so much fun that we don’t care. Under the deft direction of Christina Rosendahl, the girls’ enthusiasm is infectious. All three give stunning performances that range from exuberant to angst-ridden.
This is a very glossy film, and the cinematography is frankly astounding. A perfect mix of flashy music video techniques and ‘look at me’ arty and low tech camera moves, this film is a must-see for anyone particularly interested in the visual side of cinema. The sound design matches it perfectly, in fact there wasn’t a single fault to be found with the construction of the film. It felt fresh and original in a way that, say, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels did back in 1998.
The story can get a little fanciful, and some of the dares go a little too far (how are we supposed to feel when one of the girls finds herself alone in a hotel room with an 31 year old stranger who’s only there for one thing?), but it’s an intriguing balance of whimsy and serious analysis of the expectations foisted on teenagers.Rating: