101 Reykjavik Movie Review

A vivid and energetic dark comedy about a lifeless and lazy remnant of Generation X, the Icelandic import "101 Reykjavik" begins with its anti-hero tromping to the top of a mountain in the snow where he plans to smoke a cigarette and freeze to death because life has become too much for him to cope with.

Scruffy layabout Hlynur (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) is so willfully aimless and irresponsible that he can't cope with much of anything beyond living with his mother and surfing web porn all day. So the chaos he brings upon himself by impregnating mom's wild lesbian girlfriend (Spanish actress Victoria Abril) is way too much -- I mean it would require energy, resolution and, god forbid, responsibility!

With a firm hold on the film's pungent sense of humor, director Baltasar Kormakur sets this stage then rewinds to trace Hlynur's path of ambition-free self-destruction, deftly crafting a self-deprecating sympathy for the guy along the way. Hlynur knows he's a zero ("My face is just sort of a frame around my glasses," he says in the movie's running commentary) but then, he thinks he lives in a world of zeroes and he's the only one with the courage to admit it and embrace it. Dragged to a family Christmas dinner -- where the elder generation enthusiastically watches a video of last year's Christmas dinner -- Hlynur opines "I'd rather go to a funeral. One less idiot."

So when his mother's free-spirited young "friend" from Spain comes to stay with them, Hlynur finds her a sexy and stimulating break from the self-imposed drudgery of his existence. They hang out, get drunk and -- whoops.

"101" boasts a catchy synth-industrial soundtrack by Damon Albarn (from Blur) and Einar Orn (from the Sugarcubes), and a vivid sense of place that builds a necessary personal warmth into the glacial setting with, for example, arguments that take place inside cars that are sliding about on icy roads.

Kormakur -- who adapted the screenplay from a novel of the same title -- also plies the picture with richly morose character traits that should make his hero unlikable (giving cigarettes to kids, avoiding every girl he's slept with at the incestuously small local pub). But Gudnason's richly ironic performance is appealingly caustic in spite of the Hlynur's utter lack of purpose and gross irresponsibility.

Abril ("High Heels," "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!") provides plenty of personality as well with her bewitching but egoless sexuality. And the film is rounded out by distinctive performances from Hanna Maria Karlsdottir as the mother and Olafur Darri Olafsson as a clingy girlfriend Hlynur has lost interest in.

"101 Reykjavik" is forgettable sex farce fare and has nagging problems, like a sloppy time-line, that keep it from soaring. But it is a funny look at modern love through the eyes and culture of a slothfully detached and uniquely 21st Century male archetype.

Comments

101 Reykjavik Rating

" OK "

Rating: Unrated, Opened: Friday, September 28, 2001

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Cee-Lo Green Posts Bizarre Views on Rape, Deletes Twitter

In a series of tweets, the singer Cee-Lo Green has questioned the definition of rape after he pleaded...

Cee-Lo Green Posts Bizarre Views on Rape, Deletes Twitter

As One Marvel Flick Falls, Another Must Rise - 'Guardians' Topples 'Winter Soldier' For 2014 Box Office Crown

After much love from critics and fans alike, Guardians of the Galaxy has reached a...

As One Marvel Flick Falls, Another Must Rise - 'Guardians' Topples 'Winter Soldier' For 2014 Box Office Crown

Maroon 5 perform on the 'Today' show - Tuesday 2nd September 2014

American band Maroon 5 who have had hits with songs such as 'Moves Like Jagger'...

Maroon 5 perform on the 'Today' show - Tuesday 2nd September 2014

'Game of Thrones' Actor Cast in 'Star Wars: Episode VII''

The actor Miltos Yerolemou, the best known for playing swordsman Syrio Forel in HBO's 'Game of Thrones'...

'Game of Thrones' Actor Cast in 'Star Wars: Episode VII''

Stan Lee Confirms Marvel Have Started On 'Black Panther' Movie

You can always rely on Stan Lee to let us know what Marvel are doing behind closed doors...

Stan Lee Confirms Marvel Have Started On 'Black Panther' Movie

Made In America Festival 2014 - Saturday 30th August 2014

Made In America Festival 2014 at downtown L.A.'s Grand Park - Los Angeles California United States...

Made In America Festival 2014 - Saturday 30th August 2014

Ok, So Maybe A '24' Movie Is About To Happen

Despite initially looking dead in the water, the possibility of a movie adaptation of '24' has gathered pace in recent...

Ok, So Maybe A '24' Movie Is About To Happen

'Hungry Hearts' Is Missed Opportunity for Saverio Costanzo, Adam Driver

Hungry Hearts, the New York-set Italian drama starring 'Girls' actor Adam Driver, was...

'Hungry Hearts' Is Missed Opportunity for Saverio Costanzo, Adam Driver

Michael Keaton and 'Birdman' Have Oscars in Sight After Telluride Festival

Birdman conquered at in Venice and although the movie didn't go down quite as...

Michael Keaton and 'Birdman' Have Oscars in Sight After Telluride Festival
Advertisement