Freddie and Storm become inseparable.
Young Freddie (Marcus Rønnov) has more than the usual problems of a twelve-year-old boy. He has no siblings, mother, or close friends and lives with his widower father, Bjørn (Troels Lyby), a police officer for their Danish town, in a small apartment. The only nurturing he gets in his life is from their next door neighbor, Fru Andersen (Kirsten Lehfeldt), an elderly retired woman who often is asked to stay with Freddie when Bjørn has to work late shifts. They have a good rapport and do fun things together like play cards. At school Freddie is bullied by several kids led by Mads (Sebastian Solá-Gross Kristensen). These kids are particularly mean. Besides the usual extortion tactics for money, Mads actually has his two sidekicks chase and tackle Freddie then hold him down on the ground while Mads dumps a plastic bottle of urine on poor Freddie. All this supposedly for asking a cute girl Anna (Frederikke Hjort Arentz) in their class to borrow an eraser. Freddie is very vocal in his protests over his cruel treatment, but doesn’t have the will to fight back. Freddie internalizes his problems and doesn’t confide in his father, who could actually do something about it or at least teach his son some self-defense tactics.
Freddie’s father Bjorn warms up to Storm.
Things begin to change for Freddie one day while riding his bicycle in town. A dog goes racing by him, soon followed by a man driving a pickup truck who is the dog’s owner. The owner Simon (Søren Malling) is abusive to the dog, and places it in a cage in the back of his truck. When Simon sees Freddie staring at him, he tells him to mind his own business. On a whim, Freddie decides to follow the truck to see where the dog lives. He discovers that the dog is kept outside, chained to a small recess area in the side of the farmhouse where Simon lives. When Simon sees Freddie snooping around, he chases him away. That evening, Freddie sneaks out of his apartment and brings some food for the dog. Later that week there is a terrible storm. Worried for the dog’s safety, Freddie again sneaks out in the torrential rain to help the dog, who is still left chained up outside. Freddie decides to rescue the dog and takes him home. But he must hide the dog, who he names Storm, from his father.
Freddie and Anna walking together.
Eventually Storm is discovered by Bjørn, and he insisted that Freddie must return the dog to its owner. When this happens it causes a rift between the two, and life is pretty grim, until Bjørn finally relents, but tells Freddie that they must pay for the dog. As they are arriving at Simon’s house, Bjørn is called away on police business. Freddie tells his father he can’t wait, and that he can take care of purchasing Storm. Bjørn gives Freddie 1000 kroner to complete the purchase. But Simon senses a chance to make a windfall, and tells Freddie that the price is 5000 kroner and that he will have to pay two more installments of 2000 kroner in the next two weeks. Freddie is forced into a very bad situation, but he is determined to have Storm, so he agrees. Ashamed of his bad bargain, Freddie chooses not to tell his father what actually happened. Over the next weeks Freddie does every odd job he can think of to raise money but still is short of the amount needed. Freddie ends up giving up nearly all of his possessions, including his cell phone and computer, to satisfy Simon. However, material things are just that; now Freddie is very happy now that Storm is his dog. With his life turned around, Freddie begins to become more confident at school, and starts to gain the respect of his classmates. During this time, Freddie discovers that Storm has great abilities as a racing dog, even though he isn’t a thoroughbred. When Storm is able to qualify for a championship race, Freddie pins all of his hopes on winning the championship race and becoming free of debt. The twists and turns in this story make up the remainder of the film.
Freddie and Storm at the racetrack.
While everyone loves a good boy and his dog story, Storm tries to cram a few too many clichés into the plot and at the end, everything is solved way too conveniently for its short timeline. Besides the bullying and the obligatory urine and fecal waste scenes, much of which really wasn’t necessary and quite harsh for younger kids to see, we have the clueless dad (a trained policeman?) who can’t seem to figure out what’s going on in his son’s life, and the miracle race ending that solves everything (again unrealistic, given that the story line has Storm running several kilometers to the racetrack because they are late). Villains Simon and Mads finally get their come uppance, although even there a lot of the ending is unrealistic, especially when Freddie invites Mads to his victory party — the same kid who was torturing him and taking away his money the day before. You do have to give the producers credit for not giving us totally bumbling villains, as is the usual case in this genre but these two are particularly mean. One other note is about the language, which would get this film a PG-13 rating in the US, not the age 7 rating it received in Europe. It is surprising to hear so many swear words in this kind of film for kids. But the genuinely nice character of Freddie as played by Marcus Rønnov and the loveable terrier Storm keep you focused on the positive power capable from a boy and his dog.
Freddie is in anguish after being attacked by the school bullies.
Marcus Rønnov wears a pair of well-worn black high top chucks throughout the film. There aren’t many closeups. They do remind us in the film that Freddie is a typical nice kid even when things are miserable for him.
Freddie is determined to keep Storm no matter what.
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