December 3, 2011

Review: Trollhunter

If you have netflix instant you might want to queue up this little Norwegian film. Sure it is subtitled, but don't trick yourself into thinking you are watching some deep artsy film. Trollhunter is a lot of fun. We watch from the perspective of college students who go out in search of an alleged bear poacher. They track down the culprit, but get more than what they bargained for.

The entire time is spent behind the lens of their camera, so it is a found-footage style film. While I did enjoy The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, the format is not my favorite.  Trollhunter manages to do it in a way that is not nauseating or distracting. They actually use the format to add to the tension and tone of the movie. And that I can get on board with.

Overall I liked the movie. It has it's ups and downs, but there is decidedly more strength than weakness. It has humor and drama and all the charm of a Norwegian shaky-cam flick about mythical creatures. The story is set up really well, but for some reason the entire thing didn't come together for me like I would have hoped. Part of this might be because I watched it in 3 distinct sections spread out over several days. Not ideal, but it was the best I could do. I might consider re-watching this one if I get a change. That alone should indicate how highly I think of it.

One thing about this movie is really great. And that is... the trollhunter.  The titular character is pretty dang awesome. He is an unwilling savior.  He is a regular dude who punches the clock and hates his job, but unlike the cubical dwellers, without him the country would be in ruin.  He is the basis for all the comedy in the movie, and he is the reason I was invested to the end.  He is among my favorite characters that I've seen this year.  They way he is, and how he goes about his business could seem cliche. I couldn't argue with somebody who made that observation.  At the same time, the way it is executed feels perfect. Maybe it is because to my knowledge this is the first Norwegian film I have ever seen, and I don't speak the language.  But his performance felt right.  At the end I thought for sure I knew his fate, but the movie managed to surprise me... in a good way.

The trollhunter is a super-hero with all of the glamour stripped away. He is the war vet with no other soldiers to commiserate with, and no other survivors with which to reminisce.  He is a tragic character who wholly excepts his lot in life, but also completely hates that he has to do it.  I think I have to watch it again just to pay more attention to him.  I hope I'm not overselling this, I guess I kinda latched onto this dude, and was along for the ride.

If you like cool middle aged Norwegian guys then you definitely need to sit down and feast your eyeballs on some Trollhunter. If you liked Ernest Scared Stupid you downright owe it to yourself to watch this movie.

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