Is there a constant battle between good and evil? Does the Devil test our faith? And is it possible for one man's faith to change another man's heart? These questions are at the heart of Adam's Apples, by Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen. Adam (Ulrich Thomsen), a middle-aged Neo Nazi, comes to a rural Danish church to serve out a sentence of community service. The church is run by Ivan (Mads Mikkelsen), the vicar, who confounds Adam from the start with his cheerful, patient optimism and bottomless faith. Adam soon realizes there is more to Ivan than meets the eye, though; Ivan is not just a man of faith, he believes he is constantly being tested by the devil. Ivan tells Adam to set a goal for himself for his time at the church, and when Adam offhandedly says he will bake an apple pie, Ivan assigns him to caring for the church's apple tree until the fruit is ready.
As the apple tree is beset by ravaging crows, maggots, and lightning, Ivan tells Adam the devil is testing him. Adam gets increasingly frustrated by Ivan's unwavering faith, until a local doctor, Dr. Kohlberg (played with just the right touch of ominence by Ole Thestrup), tells him of Ivan's background. Ivan, it seems, is unable to see bad or evil things. He has had so many bad things happen to him - horrific sexual abuse as a child, a handicapped child, the suicide of his wife) his mind simply blocks out everything he cannot deal with, including the huge brain tumor in his head. Adam notices that when he pushes Ivan to get closer to the truth, Ivan bleeds from his ear, so he asks the doctor whether it would be possible to kill Ivan simply by making him see reality. Adam and Ivan end up locked in a battle for Ivan's soul and his faith, while the apple tree continues to be attacked - by God, the devil, or just bad luck, we don't really know.