Review: Based on the True Story of Author Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) ‘THE PACT’ is brimming with manipulation and artistry.


It’s 1948 and 63-year-old “Out of Africa” author Karen Blixen (pen name: Isak Dinesen) is a lonely literary sensation devastated by syphilis and mourning her lost love, until she meets talented 30-year-old poet Thorkild Bjørnvig. She offers him a Faustian bargain and promises him stardom if he will obey her unconditionally. As her demands become more and more pernicious, Thorkild must choose between Blixen’s promise of fame or his family. From director Bille August (PELLE THE CONQUEROR) comes this sterling adaptation of Bjørnvig’s bestselling memoir.

The Pact is a study of the eccentricity of art and artist. The Baroness plays emotional chess with the carefully curated people chosen as part of her inner circle. Under the guise of nurturing the artist to greatness, she overtly steers the decisions of each individual, whether they know it or not. Is she some sort of creative seer? Or is this a game of power? Playing with the hearts and minds of people is a dangerous endeavor.

The sets and costumes are sumptuous. The dialogue is delicious and poetic, possessing a gravitational pull that is undeniable. The film’s intentionally steady and emotional momentum works its magic on you. The Pact has a mysterious morality that falls somewhere between manipulation and genius. It’s a surprising debate between free will and the lies we tell ourselves. The Pact is ceaselessly complex and brilliantly acted. As a writer, it’s a piece that will sit with me for quite some time. 

Opening in New York on February 11, 2022
Opening in Los Angeles and San Francisco on February 18, 2022

Quad Cinema in New York, NY
Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, CA
Landmark’s Opera Plaza in San Francisco, CA
Smith San Rafael in San Rafael, CA

Directed by Bille August (Pelle the ConquerorThe Best Intentions)
Produced by Jesper Morthorst and Karin Trolle
Starring Birthe Neumann and Simon Bennebjerg

** Official Selection – 2022 Palm Springs International Film Festival **
** Official Selection – 2021 AFI European Union Films Showcase **

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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