101 Reykjavik

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Victoria Abril, Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Hanna Maria Karlsdóttir, Baltasar Kormakur

Director: Baltasar Kormakur

Ever wondered what it’s like to live in Iceland? What do they get up to in Reykjavik on those cold nights? The answer is a lot more than what people would be willing to admit to and that is only going by what is viewed here.

According to the movie, Reykjavik is a city where the only reason why anyone would live there is because they were born there. Hlynur (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) is fast approaching 30, jobless, and still living with his mother. He does not have any dreams about the future and he continues his routine of going out at the weekends to the pubs, having sex with his girlfriend Hofi (Thrudur Vilhjalmdottir) and leaving her in the morning before the sun rises. Is this the reason why we find him lying down on a mountain top, allowing the snow to totally cover him over?

Hlynur’s mother, Berglind (Hanna Maria Karlsdóttir), invites her Spanish flamenco teacher Lola (Victoria Abril) over one evening and the two of them proceed to smoke some weed. Leaving them to their own devices, Hlynur goes out for his usual exciting night of pleasure with his friends. When he returns home the following morning, he finds Lola leaving his mother’s apartment. His mother tells him that she will be leaving after Christmas to visit family during the New Year celebrations and Lola will be staying in the apartment during that time. What Hlynur must first get through is the annual invite to Christmas Day dinner with his immediate family, all of whom he hates. This sets up a hilarious scene that some people might relate to.

Hlynur takes Lola out on New Years night and reveals to him that she is a lesbian. Later, with too much to drink, they are all over each other with Hlynur later claiming that she was the best he had ever been with. On her return, Berglind wants to talk to Hlynur regarding something that’s been troubling her. Thinking that his mother has found out what he got up to, she instead cuts him short and reveals that she is in love with Lola. He’s taken aback by this, his mind buzzing with numerous thoughts. This isn’t helped by the fact that later on, both Hofi and Lola reveal they are both pregnant!

101 REYKJAVIK has won a number of awards with its unique view of a dead end city trying to make the most out of nothing. While the only things the inhabitants do is drink, have sex and sleep, there isn’t much opportunity to do anything else and this is reflected though Hlynur’s outlook on life. The one time that Hlynur does anything with his life, his actions gets him into trouble. With an interesting soundtrack involving Damon Albarn from Blur and Gorillaz fame, Baltasar Kormakur’s dark comedy is not a laugh a minute movie but unlike the cold weather featured, this is a warm and eventually uplifting look at making the best of a bad situation.

5 out of 6 stars