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Nord (2009)

North

An anti-depressive off-road movie

Starring:

Anders Baasmo Christiansen

Celine Engebrigtsen

Kyrre Hellum

Mads Sjøgård Pettersen

Marte Aunemo

Tommy Almenning

Directed by:

Rune Denstad Langlo

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 79 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: Norway

One of the best films doing the film festival rounds in 2009 is a visually appealing, feel-good road movie from Norway, featuring a depressed skier and a sanitary towel dipped in vodka.

Following a nervous breakdown and self-imposed isolation, ski-athlete Jomar (Christiansen) attempts to shake himself out of his lethargy by travelling hundreds of kilometres north to see his ex-girlfriend and the son he has never met. Along the way he meets a selection of unconventional but accommodating people as he tries any means to delay his journey. This synopsis sounds pretty depressing but Nord is actually a darkly comic road movie – well, skimobile movie – which takes in vast panoramas of beautiful Arctic landscapes. The environment on screen is a great alternative to the dusty Americana, seen on most buddy road movies.

North is brilliantly character-driven and it’s the supporting bunch of oddballs who really create the feel-good effect of the movie. Mads Sjøgård Pettersen steals the show as the hyperactive teenager who takes Jomar into his deserted home and shows his new friend how to get drunk with a tampon soaked in vodka. Then there is the tired old man who invents an ingenious suicide involving a frozen lake and a snowmobile. The alcoholic Jomar is not exactly a likeable guy in the strictest sense as he steals and drinks his way up north but as we watch his voyage of discovery it’s hard not to feel sorry for him and will him to not to give up.

Nord has a nice compact running time and calls it a day before it can descend into the politics of Jomar and his estranged family – a possible sequel in the pipelines. It really is a pleasure to watch and there won’t be many more easy-going viewing experiences this year.

It's Got: Beautiful landscapes, the most ingenious on-screen suicide ever, a clutch of awards.

It Needs: To get beyond the film festival scene.

Alternatives:

Elling, March of the Penguins, Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Summary

Sit back and let the beautiful Arctic landscapes and dark comic humour of Norway’s answer to Planes, Trains and Automobiles seduce you.

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