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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Keith Carradine, Rafi Guessous, Margret Vilhjalmsdottir, Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson
Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson

A shaky aerial shot of a sunrise greets us as we follow a bird’s eye view of an aeroplane landing. This Icelandic movie follows Simon (Keith Carradine), a lonely reformed ex-con from America returning after 30 years to his birthplace to visit his aunt. Along the way, a coach driver finds Old Toti (Petur Olafsson) unconscious in a field where he had been walking his wild dogs. Toti is brought to the nearest hospital, with the dogs following behind. The police are less than happy to see his bunch of wild dogs lurking outside the hospital and head there with their shotguns. A doctor suggests that they should contact the old man’s niece, an artist called Dua (Margret Vilhjalmsdottir).

Simon picks up his father’s old Land Rover from his aunt and loads it up with camping equipment and a shotgun. He heads out to the middle of the countryside and sets up camp. Convinced that his life is not worth living anymore, he puts both barrels of the shotgun in his mouth. The sound of Toti’s dogs surrounding his tent stops him from ending his life. The next day he comes across Dua who is temporary staying at her uncle’s cabin and she invites Simon to stay. Johann (Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson), the local chief of police does not like Dua and harasses her on a regular basis. Johann knows that Dua is illegally keeping a falcon in the nearby barn, a bird that is worth a lot of money on the black market.

One day Simon walks in on Johann who has forced himself on Dua and Simon shoots Johann in the arm. Both Dua and Simon flee as the police returns for them, burn down Old Toti’s farm and unashamedly shoots his dogs. The only way to prevent being captured is to get a ride on a trawler heading to Germany. With the falcon in tow, they head off to Hamburg where Simon hopes to sell off the falcon. Unfortunately, Dua has become attached to the falcon and this puts a strain on her relationship to Simon.

The storyline of this Icelandic movie is simple and compelling. The scenic shots of the countryside will grab the viewer in as well as the performance of the leads. Carradine portrays a man who has reached the end of the line and when he is given a second chance, he tries to do what is best. Vihjalmsdottir is convincing as the free spirited Dua, whose slightly off the wall behaviour reminds you a little of Bjork. For a movie that is all about one of nature’s creatures, the movie loses pace and sight as it moves into the big city. Still, you cannot help but wonder how the movie will end and this is a good sign that you care about these characters.

4 out of 6 stars