Peter Bell | Chicago Reader

Peter Bell

Director Maria Peters based this madcap period comedy (2002) set in 1930s Rotterdam on a novel by Chris van Abkoude. The title character (capably played by Quinten Shram) is a 12-year-old paperboy with a penchant for mischief. The first hour nicely captures the spirit of youthful freedom and adventurousness as the enterprising young capitalist and his friends outfox incompetent police, rigid schoolteachers, and pompous businessmen. The plot also encompasses the romantic tribulations of the hero's sister and the sorrows of a schoolmate abused by his brute of a father. But at nearly two hours the film is overlong: the sustained hysteria begins to grate by the second half, and the story becomes confused and unfocused. In Danish with subtitles. 110 min.

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