The marriage between Francis (Kaspars Znotins) and Katrina (Maija
Doveika) hasn't gone great for a while when one night, on their way home
from the party, they are attacked by a cocky biker Armands (Kaspars Zale),
who beats him up then threatens to rape her with an iron rod if she
doesn't hand over her handbag - which she does of course. And Francis
feels unable to defend her (and frankly, he wouldn't have stood a chance),
which makes him feel emasculated. And of course, it doesn't help at all
when the cop investigating the case, Gustavs (Martins Liepa), turns out to
be a former boyfriend of Katrina's. So Francis insists to not rely on the
police on this one and doing it his own way - which is to track down
Armands and (without Katrina's knowledge) to actually "buy"
Katrina's handbag back (rather than fight for it). Well, in Francis'
defense, he manages to track down Armands, somewhere deep in the woods,
and Armands happily takes his money - he just refuses to return the
handbag. A fight ensues, and Francis soon enough finds himself out of his
league - when Armands falls down some cliffs to his death. Francis is
shocked, but feels some kind of satisfaction at the same time, having
finally proven himself to be a man, if only to himself. And that the
body's never found gives Francis' additional self confidence ...
months later: Katrina's pregnant by now and she and Francis move into a
new place, when Francis receives a package - and it's Katrina's handbag.
So somebody must have found out, and from here on Francis missteps every
step along the way, from withholding vital information from Katrina to
suspecting her and Gustavs of trying to blackmail him to actually giving
in to the demands of the blackmailers, who want him to shoot someone, and
what previously made him feel like a man for the first time is now
threatening to wreck his life ...
Firstborn is quite a
remarkable film as it manages to blend a revenge thriller with a very
archaic drama of self discovery and a quite disturbing character study,
all told in a way that leaves much of the story open to interpretation.
This is of course due to a clever script that's helped by a directorial
effort that does rely on strong imagery while at the same time giving the
cast enough room to breathe life into their characters, and that said, the
acting's strong as well.
Quite an unusual experience that's well worth