Showing posts with label Norwegian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norwegian. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


Aningaaq is a short companion piece to the award winning Gravity that was written and directed by Jonás Cuarón, son of Alfonso Cuarón. I should make it clear right away that this review will feature spoilers so if you haven’t seen Gravity then you may not wish to continue. Have you left? Good. Aningaaq is a seven minute short that shows a scene in Gravity from the reverse angle. Having given up aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) begins to receive a faint radio transmission. Initially believing it to originate from a Chinese Space Station, she soon realises it’s in fact coming from Earth. This film shows us the other side of the conversation the two people have; Stone, miles above Earth on the verge of death and Aningaaq, an Inuit fisherman on a frozen fjord.

Aningaaq begins with a long, slow panning shot which depicts the inhospitable icy surroundings in which the Inuit fisherman finds himself living. This connects beautifully with the story of Gravity in that both characters are separated from their species by many miles and life snatching surroundings. Both films share the same eerie silence, further promoting the idea of bleakness and exposure. Unlike the blackness of space though, Aningaaq is shown in a near white out, the exact opposite of Dr. Stone.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a top headhunter, working in Olso but he has a secret. He uses the information her gains from interviewing clients to break into their homes and steal expensive artwork which he then sells through back channels in Sweden. Brown thinks he has come across the heist of a lifetime when he learns that a long lost Rubens has been sitting in an Oslo apartment since the Second World War but he gets much more than he bargained for when it transpires that he picked the wrong target to mess with.

With the success of the likes of The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Borgen and The Killing in recent years, it was only a matter of time before a Jo Nesbo novel was adapted for the big screen. I am currently reading a different Nesbo novel as I write this (though not at this very second) and am really enjoying it. This film captures the tone and style of Nesbo which will delight his hordes of fans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his Harry Hole series adapted in the near future.

The film is a true thriller which had me on the edge of my seat. The first half is mostly a tense heist type of story with the second half being mostly one huge chase with a few rest bites thrown in to give those sweaty palms a break. The story is complex and interesting and made the film feel longer to me that it actually was. This isn’t a bad way however and I’d happily have watched for another half an hour. The film and its lead character are very clever and this should excite the audience and leave them thoroughly satisfied.

The acting from Hennie is superb. He shows great depth and cunning as well as despair and heartbreak. It’s a career performance from him. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, best known as Jamie Lanninster from Game of Thrones to English speaking audiences is also excellent opposite Hennie. The two have a real duel in terms of the action and the acting. Coster-Waldau is impossibly cool and suits his role to a tee. Every main character is given a fair amount of back story which really helps to give them their identity and drive.

Unsurprisingly a Hollywood remake is already in the works but I’d recommend seeing the original as I can’t see how having Mark Whalberg and Kiefer Sutherland or someone similar will improve the film. It’s just an excuse for lazy people not to have to read and for Hollywood studios to make money without doing anything original.

This film is smart, witty and original and even has a love story at its centre. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is only the second Norwegian film I’ve seen, with Troll Hunter being the first, but if they’re all as good as these two, I can’t wait to watch my third.


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Troll Hunter

Released towards the end of 2011 in the UK, Norway’s Troll Hunter (Trailer Herewas one of the more pleasant surprises of the year for me. I originally came across the film on an impromptu visit to our local art house cinema and have since watched the Blu-Ray. I was blown away both times. The film uses the found footage formula which is often hit or miss but the mokumentary style works well within the confines of this story. The footage is shot by three university students who are investigating illegal bear poaching in Volda but stumble across Norway’s best kept secret - Norway is home to trolls and there is one single man whose job it is to keep the human population from discovering their existence.

Much of the film could be used as a tourist advert for Norway. The scenery is amongst the most beautiful in the world and provides an impressive backdrop to the darkly comic story. Just watching the film made me want to travel around Norway, visiting every mountain, lake and waterfall… That is, until the trolls make an appearance. The film features several different variations of trolls, from a three headed Tosserlad to smaller Mountain Kings and the 200 foot Jotnar. Each troll species has its own distinct look and personality and despite the odd dodgy bit of CGI are impressive and menacing. For the most part the CGI is very good given the budget.

One of the films best scenes

The film is packed full of great comedic lines, often delivered dead pan by a terrific cast of comedians and relatively unknown actors. The acting feels natural and the cast do a fine job of displaying first amusement then later fear, excitement and confusion. Otto Jespersen in the role of Hans the Troll Hunter is absolutely brilliant. He plays the role with an air of resentment towards the Government and you really get the sense that despite his respect for the trolls and dedication to his job he has had enough. In one scene he complains about receiving no extra pay for working nights which is hilarious given the nature of his job. A scene on a bridge featuring a metal suit and sheep had me in stitches.

The world which the film creates is full of very nice little details. For example, you may think that power cables are there to deliver electricity across the countryside but the film comes up with a genius alternative explanation. Other little details such as the Governments hilarious attempts to cover up troll activity using bears add to the world created by the film. Many of the films ideas come from troll fairy tails such as their aversion to light and attraction towards Christians. This second idea is used to comedic effect when one character asks if being Muslim will be a problem, to which the hunter replies “I have no idea, but we’ll find out”. The film is full of little ideas and bits of dialogue which help to make the film the stunning success that it is. The way the film is shot keeps the audience on their toes. There is a well balanaced mix between the students being in control of their film and total panic when they are confronted with the trolls. 

"Lets have a look in that dark, abandoned mine"

The film is quite unique, or at least it is at time of writing. As per usual a Hollywood remake is in the works so look forward to a US set film coming in the next couple of years which will more than likely take the heart and soul from this film and have trolls ransacking Los Angeles with Tom Cruise hot on their tails in a helicopter. *Sigh*

One great part of the film for me was the choice of music over the end credits. I was introduced to what is now one of my favourite current bands, Kvelertak. The use of their song Mjød works very well and it’s a great song. I advise anyone with a puncheon for Scandinavian death metal to check them out.

While not perfect, Troll Hunter is a fantastic monster movie which keeps both the genre and the found footage style fresh. It is full of funny lines, great action and suspense and creates a world which I’d be thrilled to visit again.

Moral of the story – Christianity = uhoh.