The narrator in 101 Reykjavík is its main character, Hlynur. One of his first lines is this: "I'll be dead after I die. I was dead before I was born. Life is a break from death". The quote on the title sequence refers to something like that, saying something about no one being able to stay dead forever. However, Hlynur almost convinces us that it is actually possible to be completely dead while apparently alive.
He doesn't care about anything or anybody. Life is a sequence of events and people before his eyes, and he seems to interact with the world. but he doesn't. The funny thing here is that he would be a character to be despised. Yet, I found out it was very difficult to dislike or even judge him, mostly due to the fact that people around him aren't any better. And still I couldn't find in me the will to condemn any of them, because they're so humane, so real, they cannot avoid to mess things up. And there's a lot of mess in this story.
I've read some comments stating how this movie is funny and so. I didn't think so. It is ironic, clever, sarcastic, but not funny per se. I couldn't even laugh. A sense of dread took hold of me, and the reason why I didn't drown in it was how well written the protagonist is. He is deadly awful, but there's I couldn't get away from him.
Despite the more hopeful ending, we know that Hlynur is still aloof, only slightly better than he was when we first met him. But that's exactly the alluring aspect in this story: nobody is seeking redemption here. And surely they simply don't care about what you think. It's incredible that a story can be so captivating through such a messed up way.
At last, being in Reykjavik is a big perk - movies set in Iceland usually shows the most transcendent scenery of this surreal country. Not in this movie, for sure. And it was nice to have a more ordinary view of this beautiful place. Victoria April was another surprise in here - long time no see, and I certainly wasn't expecting to meet her in Iceland.
|101 Reykjavík. Directed by Baltazar Kormákur (Director of Everest, among|
others ). With: Hilmir Snaer Guonason, Victoria Abril, Hanna Maria. Writters:
Hallgrimur Helgason, Baltazar Kormákur. Iceland/Denmark/France/Norway/
Germany, 2000, 88 min., Dolby Digital, Colr (DVD).
PS: This week, Rodrigo introduced me to another amazing Icelandic band (the first one is my beloved Sigur Rós). Sólstafir is defined as a Viking Metal (psychedelic metal, I've read somewhere). I usually don't listen metal at home, I'd rather listen to it at a live gig. But Sólstafir is in fact incredibly good, and so it has been keeping me company this week. Check it out: