“Monsterthursday” is a genuine oddity — a Norwegian surfer movie. Sophomore outing by writer-director Arild Ostin Ommundsen looks good but lacks the emotional power to involve auds in the central love triangle, due to a script that never delves deep enough. Still, the surfing sequences are well done, and pic will find a berth as a curiosity item at fests. Pic opened late October in Norway and will compete in Sundance’s new World Cinema competition in January.
Old friends Even (Vegar Hoel) and Tord (Andreas Cappelen) live in Stavanger, on Norway’s west coast. A handsome career guy and an excellent surfer, Tord recently married the pretty Karen (Silje Salomonsen), whom Even always loved. Despite the fact that Karen is expecting a child, Tord goes to Australia to surf, and Even gets the chance to spend more time with her, especially when he starts doing repairs at her house.
Even decides to learn to surf under the guidance of a legendary surfer (Kim Bodnia). At first, he shows no aptitude but gradually he starts to get the hang of it. When he hears about a monster-wave coming, he decides to ride it. Meanwhile, with no word from Tord Down Under, Even and Karen are getting closer all the time. The outcome, however, is unexpected.
Ostin Ommundsen’s first feature, “Mongoland” (2001), ran into financial troubles and was saved by the local media and his business colleagues. “Monsterthursday” (whose title reps a clear reference to John Milius’ 1978 surfer movie, “Big Wednesday”) is made on a grander scale, and lead thesps are joined by top Danish names Iben Hjejle and Bodnia. It’s no fault of the actors that the pic never really grips at an emotional level.