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  • Thale | Review

    SXSW FILM 2012

    By | March 14, 2012

    Director: Aleksander Nordaas

    Writer: Aleksander Nordaas

    Starring: Erlend Nervold, Silje Reinåmo, Jon Sigve Skard, Morten Andresen

    Leo (Jon Sigve Skard) has brought his friend Elvis (Erlend Nervold) on board to help clean up violent and messy crime scenes. Elvis definitely needs the work but he has a difficult time stomaching the bloody disgusting job duties. While cleaning one such crime scene, Elvis stumbles upon a series of rooms hidden underneath a woodshed. Curious, Elvis and Leo begin to poke around; and among the old reference books, clinical sketches, expired canned goods and strange medical equipment, they discover a beautiful woman named Thale (Silje Reinåmo).

    By way of flashbacks, Thale’s history — much of which appears to be communicated telepathically from Thale to Elvis — is unraveled. This information becomes increasingly helpful in explaining why the military and mythical Huldra are both trying to get to Thale. It seems Thale was safely locked away and hidden from her supposed enemies, but Elvis and Leo have accidentally given away her secret hiding place. Elvis and Leo thus get stuck in the middle of the violent tug-of-war for custody of Thale.

    Based upon Norwegian folklore of creatures called Huldra (or Hulders), Thale utilizes the mythical beings to tell a story about the need for peaceful coexistence with nature. In writer-director Aleksander Nordaas’ world, the Huldra can sense whether you are a friend or foe; they will help you if you are nice, and kill you instantly if you are bad. What really benefits Thale the most is its restrained approach in which aspects of horror, science fiction and fantasy genres are able to seep into, but never take full control over, the dramatic narrative. Like André Øvredal’s The Troll Hunter, Nordaas keeps this tale (mind the pun) grounded firmly in reality, utilizing CGI for accents rather than features. Silje Reinåmo, Erlend Nervold and Jon Sigve Skard’s performances are admirably natural, with dialogue and actions that feel perfectly organic. These three characters of this intense chamber piece are portrayed as real people who are worthy of our attention and sympathy; we get to know them well enough that we can understand their innermost fears and desires.

    (Also check out our SXSW 2012 interview with Aleksander Nordaas, Erlend Nervold, Jon Sigve Skard and Bendik Heggen Stronstad.)

    Rating: 8/10

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