Either Way, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson, Hilmar Guðjónsson, Árni Filippusson
Sexposition, the technique of making boring dialogue interesting by putting characters in a sexual situation, is subverted in an interesting way for one of the scenes of Either Way, an Icelanic film making its UK Premiere this week at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
While the two characters Finnbogi and Alfred are packing up a tent, Alfred makes the dull action more interesting with some extremely raunchy dialogue. The result is hilarious.
Similarly, a scene featuring Alfred trying to masturbate in their shared tent while Finnbogi sleeps is at once a skilful bit of writing and very entertaining.
This simple buddy movie set on the lonely rural roads of Iceland is notable for its simple, touching story and the stunningly captured, majestic landscape in which it takes place.
Finnbogi and Alfred are working the summer painting the dividing lines on isolated roads. With only each other for company, the differences between their clashing personalities are amplified. There isn't a woman in sight, but Alfred's sister, who is also Finnbogi's girlfriend, has an important role to play in the pair's developing friendship.
Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson and especially Hilmar Guðjónsson are excellent in the two lead roles. The truck driver character who rips the tops of Coke bottles with his teeth is also a fine addition to the cast.
The rural Icelandic landscape is photographed beautifully by cinematographer Árni Filippusson. Often, the characters are dwarfed by the mountainous scenery, which has a huge range of moods from wet mist to heatwave.
This distance from the characters is reflected elsewhere in the film. Finnbogi's girlfriend is portrayed only through her letters to him, and the most significant scene in Fonnbogi's emotional trails takes place off screen.
Either Way is a simple, effective, and moving film. I'm not convinced it has any particular depth of character or theme, but the whole project, director Hafsteinn Gunnar's first feature film, is an enjoyable view and evokes a wonderfully sedate yet charged atmosphere throughout.
Due to a technical error I've not seen the last twenty minutes of the film. I'll update this review when I do catch the rest if my opinion changes.
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