Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Higher Force

What is it about Icelandic movies? They seem to prefer to show the ugly side of the country. The Higher Force is mostly filmed in a down at the heel cafe, an apartment, bits of wasteland and behind some warehouses. It's an Icelandic slacker movie. The characters are gangsters of sorts, though the life of these Icelandic gangsters is mostly waiting around for people and making cryptic conversation. It is difficult to think of one character in this movie who isn't deluded or a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

So why watch this film? For starters you are left wondering how long these actors can keeps the silliness going in this earnest deadpan manner, and then there are the increasingly complicated deceptions they weave around each other as they try to impress each other, like boys at primary school (except these guys can be brutally violent). And what will David do when he puts together the final pieces in a childhood tragedy.

And it is not all sub-titles because Icelandic gangsters think it is cool to speak English with as much American street slang as they can cram into each sentence, and David's best friend is a German who speaks very little Icelandic.

"The Higher Force" of the title are some tacky self help / kung-fu videos that David watched as a kid and still watches when he is feeling down.

Ian's rating 4/5

This was preceded by The Attack of the Robots from Nebula-5, a black and white Spanish short film about a young man who is convinced that the world is about to be destroyed by robots from Nebula-5 and that only he will be saved, and only if he is in the safe spot (a bit of waste land where people take their dogs to shit). He has trouble convincing his family of their impending doom. He draws pictures of the frightening robots but his mother just puts them on the fridge. Ultimately he makes and wears a robot head made out of a cardboard box but he still can't get his message across.

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