17 August 2018.
WOMAN AT WAR **** (vo Icelandic)
If you’re looking for a heroine, here is one in all her glory. Played by the excellent Halldora Geirhardsdottir, she is a real woman, a smart environmental terrorist, a choir leader on the side, and nimble as a gazelle…make that a reindeer. She’s a one-woman bow-and-arrow saboteur of the huge electrical pylons that cover her Icelandic countryside as she fights for nature and against global warming. She is out to obstruct the government, which has an army of drone-wielding forces and helicopters searching for the culprits, but she is sly and always one step ahead of them.
The brilliance of the scenario is in its varied pacing and a tongue-in-cheek humor that has the soundtrack following her escapades with an actual trio of bizarre musicians and the occasional Ukrainian-costumed singers in tow. There are the cell phones going into the fridge each time she has a secret conference with her man-on-the-ground. And then the balancing of her civil fervor with her maternal feelings when a long-awaited adoption seems finally to materialize. Plus there’s a charming twin sister who is also played by her… And the hapless tourist who keeps getting arrested….Don’t ask, just run to get tickets for this joyous work that won in the Critics Week at Cannes this past May.
Nine times out of ten, you can trust Icelandic films to be superlative and quirky. For instance “The Deep” by Baltasar Kormakur, the very touching “Virgin Mountain”, the award-winning “Rams”, and the incredible “Of Horses and Men” by Benedikt Erlingsson, the very same director of this film.
If you haven’t seen them, get them anyway you can and add the hilariously violent Norwegian “Kraftidioten/In Order of Disappearance” to that list. There must be something about the cold Nordic climate, the reserved people and the silent landscapes that brings out the best in these filmmakers.
THE EQUALIZER 2 **1/2
Here’s a tight, tough thriller starring Denzel Washington as a lone judge and jury that gives you satisfaction for your money for the bad guys get what’s coming to them…
Not as fine as the first one, but Washington and director Antoine Fuqua are a good team.
ON CHESIL BEACH *
Oh dear…we always have high hopes for a film with Saoirse Ronan (superb in “Brooklyn”), that delicate girl from Ireland, but she simply can’t save this awful film about a young couple agonizing over (non)sexual issues during their honeymoon.
Its prudish view from author Ian McEwan is both cringe-worthy and boring. Miss it, for your own good.
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE *
Don’t be tempted by the lovely title and the come-on poster – this is a dull, meandering David Lynch wanna-be that doesn’t go anywhere.
You won’t care anyway in this mangled L.A. style nihilism which may put you to sleep. Forget it.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.