Review: ‘Brim’

A flawed but atmospheric drama ifrom Icelandic helmer Arni Olafur Asgeirsson.

The claustrophobic confines of a rusty fishing trawler provide the setting for flawed but atmospheric drama in “Brim,” the second feature from Icelandic helmer Arni Olafur Asgeirsson (“Thicker Than Water”). Developed from a play by Reykjavik theater group Vesturport (the creative hub behind the acclaimed Ragnar Bragason features “Parents” and “Children”), the pic boasts nuanced performances along with such visceral production design and cinematography that viewers can practically smell the catch and feel the roiling waters of the north Atlantic. Further fests should bite.

When a longtime member of the crew dies during a working tour, the dour skipper (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson) reluctantly brings aboard his troubled niece (Nina Dogg Filipusdottir). Aboard the aptly named Undercurrent, her presence sparks problems among the closely knit crew; personal issues that should have remained onshore threaten to swamp the boat. Meanwhile, poorly integrated flashbacks gradually reveal what happened to the dead man (Vikingur Kristjansson). Given the intriguing backstories for the characters hinted at during film’s first half, it’s disappointing they are not adequately developed in the second. A haunting score by Icelandic group Slowblow reinforces the tense and melancholy tone.

Brim

Iceland-Poland

Production

A Sena (in Iceland) release of a Zik Zak Filmworks/Vesturport/Kid Film production with the support of the Icelandic Film Center, Polish Film Institute, Nordisk Film and TV Fund. (International sales: Zik Zak Filmworks, Reykjavik.) Produced by Skuli Fr. Malmquist, Thorir S. Sigurjonsson, Grimar Jonsson, Gisli Orn Gardarsson. Directed by Arni Olafur Asgeirsson. Screenplay, Asgeirsson, Otto G. Borg, Vesturport, based on a play by Jon Atli Jonasson.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), G. Magni Agustsson; editors, Valdis Oskarsdottir, Eva Lind Hoskuldardottir; music, Slowblow; production designer, Borkur Jonsson; art director, Olafur Jonasson; costume designer, Margret Einarsdottir. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival (competing), Feb. 2, 2011. (Also in Reykjavik Film Festival.) Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Ingvar E. Sigurdsson, Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson, Olafur Egill Egilsson, Gisli Orn Gardarsson, Nina Dogg Filipusdottir, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Vikingur Kristjansson. (Icelandic dialogue)

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