In Brotherhood (Broderskab), Lars (Thure Lindhardt), is a former Danish serviceman who is forced to leave national military service after being denied a promotion on the basis of accusations that he made romantic passes at fellow servicemen. Lars’ parents are democratically inclined and pre-arrange for Lars to join the army in New Zealand. This manoeuvre angers Lars, and he begins to explore other paths, perhaps to seek escape from his authoritarian parents. To get his life moving forward again, the young man joins a local Danish neo-Nazi group. The chapter of the organization has an inflexible, actively homophobic agenda, and idolizes Hitler. Gay-bashing is ritualistic — in one case, a fake meeting is set up with a young male, and upon his arrival, he is beat bloody, without mercy.
Organized attacks on unsuspecting homosexuals are par for the course. Lars is forced to suppress a major part of his identity so that he can better fit in; moreover, he doesn’t wish to spoil his reputation as a promising recruit. In order to instill the codices of the skinhead group into newbie Lars, Jimmy (David Dencik), a long-time member and one of the most enthusiastic bullies, recruits him as a protégé. He takes him away for private, one-on-one training in a secluded seaside house belonging to Ebbe (Claus Flygare), the Führer of the group. It is at the isolated shack where the relationship unfolds itself like a flower, blossoming from amicable to out-and-out sexually charged and passionate. Of course, their desire for one another is highly taboo, and to risk being seen together is risking life or death.
The romance is inevitably found out by Jimmy’s younger brother Patrick (Morten Holst), who is a junkie. Despite being Jimmy’s brother, Patrick is ruthless. He informs the neo-Nazi sect of the amorous relationship; the group enacts grim, violent punishment in the form of beatings and torture. The couple is thrown into a crisis. Their safety is on the line. They make plans to flee.
“Excellent night-time shooting goes hand-in-hand with the camera’s slight movements, subtly emphasizing a sense of unease.”
— Jay Weissberg, Variety
“The strong ensemble acting lets you feel the quivering vulnerability under the characters’ thuggish facades. Beneath their spasms of violence and rowdiness lie buried sobs of fear and self-doubt.”
— Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Gay neo-Nazis in love are convincing and engaging.”
— Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Did You Know?
The idea of Brotherhood (Broderskab) was partly inspired by a documentary featuring a scene from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 film Olympia which documented the 1936 Summer Olympics, set in Berlin. Riefenstahl, had inserted a scene where the athletes are washing each other, rubbing each other’s backs while naked. The scene did not fit with director Nicolo Donato idea of Nazism. Review our Gay Themed Films here