Jar City

Thursday, September 6, 2007 

Saturday evening we saw Jar City. It was a fairly traditional detective story with some nominally successful comic elements. Apparently it was the most popular movie in Icelandic history, meaning 100,000 Icelanders saw it, an entire third of the country’s population. But before that we saw a Korean film, Bound by Chastity Rules, which was directed by Shin Sang-ok, famous for possibly having been kidnapped by the Kim Jong Il. That was also the most interesting part of the film which was otherwise a somewhat tedious melodrama about a horny widow and her nasty mother-in-law.

Jar City was proceeded by Nash Edgarton’s short film “Spider,” which was screamingly funny. Literally. You can watch it on-line here.

Jar City (originally Myrin) is a story of rape and murder with a twist in that the rapist carried a very unusual genetic deviation, which was transmitted to the progeny of his “victims.” The plot device revolves around a somewhat controversial plan to genetically map every citizen of Iceland, and that the only expression of the genetic deviation is within this one lineage. Another interesting element is a measure of moral ambivalence around the rape itself.

The acting is very strong, especially the lead, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson. The story holds together and is successful in leading the viewer along the adventure with a number of generally unexpected twists and turns. Perhaps the funniest character was Theódór Júlíusson as Elliði, the dangerous tough guy in the film.

2007 Telluride Film Festival

Posted at 00:00:16 GMT-0700

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