A ChucksConnection Film Review


Aksel Leth and Julie Zangenberg wear black and red high top Converse “Chuck Taylor” All Stars in the film.

Fakiren fra Bilbao (The Fakir)


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Twins Tom and Emma and their widowed mother, Louise, move into a ramshackle old house..


Young teenaged twins, Emma and Tom (Julie Zangenberg and Askel Leth), and their mother Louise (Sidse Babett Knudsen) are a broken family. Their father and husband was a pilot killed in a plane crash several year ago. Since that day Louise found out about the crash she has been reclusive, refusing to even answer the telephone. But finally, Louise decides to do something about their family situation. Her solution: move to the small town of Churchville, where she gets a job hand painting porcelain pottery. As the film opens, Tom and Emma go to meet Maxwell Moony (Ole Thestrup), who is the town’s undertaker and real estate agent. He takes the family to the Eye of the Moose, an old ramshackle mansion out in the country that hasn’t been lived in for a very long time. Even though the place is run down, Louise and Emma see its potential, although Tom thinks that the house is a rotten shack. While Moony shows Louise the upstairs of the house, Emma grabs the key to the cellar and takes Tom to explore it. Down there they find a locked grate with a relatively new lock on it. When they return upstairs, they see Louise signing the paperwork to buy the house. Their new life is about to begin.


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The twins find an ally in the Fakir of Bilbao.


The family moves in and begins the monumental task of cleaning up and making the house habitable again. Tom doesn’t like the fact that they are so isolated with their nearest neighbors being the inhabitants of the cemetery next door. But Emma is enthralled. “The house is calling out to us,” Emma says. Louise usually had to work late so the two kids were often at the house by themselves. From the start strange things begin to happen. Emma keeps looking in the cellar for treasure and finds a ball point pen that has a man inside. “He almost looks alive,” she says. One evening there is pounding on their front door. A strange couple shows up, who say they are the Schmidts. They ask to come inside and have tea. The Schmidts say they have wonderful memories from the house. It’s their lifetime dream to have it back. They offer to buy it and show Tom a large wad of cash. But Emma refuses, so the couple leaves. Tom wants to sell but Emma is very suspicious. “Why are they offering so much for it?” she asks. But they don’t tell their mom about the couple. Later she discovers that the man has left his cigarette lighter. However the name on it is Flambert, not Schmidt. The next day, Emma worms out more information about the house from Moony by pretending she wants to become an undertaker. Mooney tells her that the Eye of the Moose has been abandoned for fifty years and no one named Schmidt ever lived there. The last occupants were a circus performer named Lombardo and his brother.


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Mortician/realtor Maxwell Mooney shows off his work to Emma and Tom.


Back at the house Emma is writing with the ballpoint pen when the man inside talks out at her. It forces her to write things like “Help, if you let me out I will grant you three wishes.” She opens the top and the man pops out in an explosion. Emma hurries outside and Tom comes running to find out what the commotion is about. There is smoke coming out of the room. They go inside to check. They find the man all expanded now but quite puckered up. He shows them his sword swallowing trick and introduces himself as Albin Lombardo, the Fakir of Bilbao (Moritz Bleibtreu). Later, they help him clean up, and discovers that he is a handsome young man. Lombardo wants to go but the kids hold him to his promise of three wishes. He says there is real treasure in the locked cellar room, a fabulous diamond known as the Koon de Lun. Lombardo goes in after they break open the lock but ony finds a moose head. Later it becomes very important in the story and Lombardo becomes their ally. Emma seeks more information from Moony. He tells her he knows the name Flambert and on the Internet Tom and Emma find out the the Flamberts are notorious criminals and not the Schmidts. The Flamberts keep the pressure up, accosting Tom at a gas station and coming back to the Eye of the Moose to look for the moose head late one night. When Mrs. Flambert invades their place to get the moose head, it falls down on her, knocking her unconscious, but Tom believes that she is dead. When they start to move her body, a melon falls out of her sweater and her wig comes off. Mrs. Flambert is actually a guy, Frank Flambert, the brother of Florian. Emma calls Moony to come and take the body. Meanwhile their mom has returned with the married couple who are her employers. This calls for some diversionary tactics while they go to get rid of Frank’s body. But Florian Flambert comes to check on Frank, and Tom goes missing. When Emma sees the Flamberts in the cellar she realizes that Tom must be in Moony’s coffin. She and Lombardo go to rescue Tom. The rest of the film continues in this manner as Tom and Emma must deal with Lombardo, the Flamberts, the police, Moony and the bodies in his coffins, while searching for the missing diamond.


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Tom and Emma help the fakir recover after spending fifty years inside a ball point pen.


Fakiren fra Bilbao is available on a Region 2 DVD with Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and English subtitles. As is typical of many family films, the story line combines fantastical elements with family values themes, in this case Tom and Emma struggling to make their family whole again. Although played down in tone, some of the more violent scenes might not be suitable for younger kids. The film features Danish character actors Sidse Babett Knudsen, Moritz Bleibtreu, Ole Thestrup, and Peter Gantzleras as the adults along with good work from newcomers Askel Leth and Judy Zangerberg as the teenaged main characters. Director Peter Flinth keeps the action moving at a rapid pace. There is a nice romantic element at the end of the film, as we see Emma and Tom’s mother Louise get some romance back in her life.


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Tom struggles to move Frank Flambert.


Best Chucks Scene


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A mysterious fog starts to fill the room where Emma is standing.


Unisex Chuck Taylor sneakers are the perfect footwear for brother and sister twins, Emma and Tom. Throughout the film Tom wears black high tops while Emma wear red high tops. Twins often like to wear matching clothing, and chucks allow them to do that, while expressing themselves with different colors. The best scene with Emma’s red chucks is just after she lets Lombardo out of the ball point pen and his return to human size creates a fog. The best scene with Tom’s black high tops is when he is responsible for moving the body of Frank Flambert, disguised as a woman, who he believes is dead.


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Tom hides under the staircase with the unconscious Frank Flambert.


Fakiren fra Bilbao (The Fakir). (2004) Askel Leth, Julie Zangenberg, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Moritz Bleibtreu, Ole Thestrup, Peter Gantzler, Fares Fares.
Directed by Peter Flinth. Categories: Drama, Action/Adventure, Family.

ChucksConnection Rating: 3 chucks rating MPAA Rating: NR (would be PG)

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