Memorize this face as you'll be seeing a lot of it.
This is Pilou Asbaek, who appears to be the love child of Michael Shannon and Leonardo DiCaprio, but whose acting is surprisingly subtle given that visual prompt. Now picture him shaggier and with a sword as he'll be joining Game of Thrones for Season 6 to play Euron Greyjoy. GoT has become to Scandinavian and Northern European stars what Law & Order once was to NYC stage actors or Harry Potter was to older British thespians; the place they all end up in some capacity large or small! You'll also soon see him as Pontious Pilate in the Ben-Hur remake and then reunited with Scarlett Johansson (he played her cowboy hat wearing boyfriend in the first scenes of Lucy) for Ghost in the Shell a couple of years from now. In other words, he's suddenly in demand.
But for now he's just a respected Danish actor (a TV star at home, and best known abroad for A Hijacking as well as a brief stint on The Borgias) making the rounds with his country's Oscar submission A War. It's a real contender for the finalist list and then possibly the big deal Oscar nomination. Asbaek plays a Company Commander in Afghanistan who comes under hot water back home for a questionable decision he makes to save his men while they're under heavy gunfire from the Taliban. Though there are a couple of violent scenes, A War is quieter than its title suggests and more concerned with ethical and psychological fallout from going to war. And its legal consequences, too, as the movie is partially a courtroom drama
At a cocktail reception following the film I was surprised to hear from Pilou that most of the soldiers he shared scenes with were actual soldiers rather than professional actors. I wondered if he felt like a mentor, teaching them how to act with the camera and he humbly suggested that the opposite was true. He couldn't make one false move as an actor since it would read inauthentically while in the company of actual soldiers who were just doing their jobs.
Pilou and his director Tobias Lindholm both referred to the war in Afghanistan as "our Vietnam" in conversation. They drew the comparison because the Danish people never quite understood what they were doing in Afghanistan in the first place -- it's the only war they've ever fought that did not touch their borders. (In the early Aughts, Denmark apparently had a more conservative leader than usual who jumped in with Bush & Blair). A War is vaguely reminiscent of Susanne Bier's great film Brødre (2004, remade in the US as Brothers in 2009), though that one centered on PTSD. Given that the films are more than 10 years apart it's obviously a war that the Danish people are still struggling to make peace with.