101 Reykjavík
Awkward triangle. Hlynur (Gudnason, right) is a bit stunned when he falls for Lola (Abril), his mother's (Kalrsdottir) new girlfriend.
dir-scr Baltasar Kormakur
with Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Victoria Abril, Hanna Maria Karlsdottir, Thrudur Vilhjalmsdottir, Baltasar Kormakur, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Eyvindur Erlendsson, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson, Johann Sigurdarson, Edda Heidrun Backman, Gudmundur Ingi Thorvaldsson, Halldora Bjornsdottir
release UK 1.Jun.01
00/Iceland 1h40
3˝ out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
London L&G Film Fest Kormakur has been called an Icelandic Almodovar for his wacky approach to this relational drama (not to mention the fact that it stars Victoria Abril). And 101 Reykjavik is certainly offbeat, examining family and romance from a skewed perspective that brings out all kinds of clever themes and ideas. Hlynur (Gudnason) is a 28-year-old slacker, still living with his mother Berglind (Karlsdottir) and still drawing the dole even though he's recovered from the illness that put him on disability. His relationship with his girlfriend Hofi (Vilhjalmsdottir) is tentative at best, while she's desperately trying to make something more of it ... especially when she gets pregnant. And then into the mix he finds out that his mother's sexy new friend, flamenco teacher Lola (Abril), is also her lover.

The way Hlynur drifts through his life is brilliantly captured on film, along with the quirks and rhythms of Icelandic life. Much of the film is absolutely hilarious--directed with style and glee, written with wit and insight. The vibrant, colourful production design deftly contrasts the cold, bleak outdoors with textured, garish interiors. And the film is further set apart from the pack by an extraordinary score by Damon Albarn (Blur) and Einar Orn Benediktsson (Sugarcubes). All of this combines to paint a portrait not only of life in Reykjavik, but of life anywhere for Gen Xers who simply can't figure out what they want out of life, even when it's staring them in the face. The acting is superb, with each cast member inhabiting their character warts and all. If it all becomes a bit of style over substance silliness, at least it does it with creativity and life ... and a few touching moments that bring the themes home in a subtle, understated way.
adult themes and situations, language, nudity cert 18 31.Mar.01 llgff

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"This movie is almost embarrassingly enjoyable. I couldn't wipe the stupid grin off my face. It definitely gives you a good feel for life in Reykjavik and yes, possibly the rest of the world. Specifically, it focuses on the lives of the 20-something set, and does so without becoming lugubrious or ponderous. It was very refreshing to see a film that could explore the difficulties of growing up with a sense of humor. It also avoided the pitfalls that many comedies run into of being trite or overly sentimental. Yes, the style possibly starts to outweigh the substance, but this is a minor complaint. Also, the soundtrack is great. The contrasting images of the Icelandic terrain and the vibrant life of its inhabitants is fascinating and the story itself is sufficiently complex. It was also nice to see the males and females sharing in the nude scenes. Hollywood seems to be embarrassed of the penis and I find that ridiculous. The only real complaint I have is that the editing was a bit spotty in places. Overall, this film has great acting, solid writing, cool music, stunning scenery and wit to spare. Cool movie, wish there were more films out there like it." --Don Wilkins, Bellvue, Washington 29.May.01

© 2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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