101 Reykjavik review

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The impressive feature debut of Icelandic actor-turned-director Baltasar Kormákur, 101 Reykjavik has already attracted comparisons to Pedro Almodóvar's farces, yet its deadpan humour is quintessentially Scandinavian, bringing to mind the droll tragi-comedies of Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki.

Hlynur (Gudnason ) is a 28-year-old slacker still living at home with his mother (Karlsdóttir) in the Icelandic capital, and getting by on unemployment benefits. Days are for sleeping and computer games, nights are for boozing, while avoiding any long-term commitment to the opposite sex. However, a drunken one-night-stand with the middle-aged Lola (Abril) has some unexpected consequences...

101 Reykjavik makes excellent use of voice-over plus fantasy and flashback sequences to convey Hlynur's bemused state of mind. And it's refreshing to watch a film in which the central character has no ambition for self-improvement. Somehow, though, Gudnason's performance makes us feel sympathy for this childish loafer. That, combined with atmospheric cinematography and Damon Albarn's dub-heavy score, makes this cool Icelandic export well worth seeing.


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