Review: ‘Our Own Oslo’

Opposites attract to incendiary effect in "Our Own Oslo" but alas, the fire is literal rather than metaphorical in debuting Icelandic director Reynir Lyngdal's romantic comedy.

Opposites attract to incendiary effect in “Our Own Oslo” but alas, the fire is literal rather than metaphorical in debuting Icelandic director Reynir Lyngdal’s romantic comedy. This jauntily helmed tale of a relationship confounded by dueling compulsions and addictions features some witty dialogue and smart digs at Iceland’s post-crash economy, but lacks credible chemistry between the two leads. A local hit, the Reykjavik fest entry is a likely bet for other Nordic events.

(Okkar eigin Oslo)

On a business trip to Oslo, straightlaced engineer Harald (scribe Thorsteinn Gudmundsson) shares a wild night with drunken, raven-haired beauty Vilborg (Brynhildur Gudjonsdottir), but when they meet again, it’s clear they’re both burdened by a lot of baggage. Disciplined Harald cares for his mentally disabled half-sister (Maria Heba Thorkelsdottir) and resents his long-dead alcoholic father. Meanwhile, irresponsible Vilborg, a less-than-sympathetic drama queen, is a gambling addict with a pending fraud charge, a sullen preteen son and an attractive ex-husband (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason). The aforementioned conflagration climaxes with a disastrous weekend all of the above share at Harald’s summer cottage. Tech credits are solid.

Our Own Oslo

Iceland-U.K.

Production

A Ljosband production, co-produced by Film House, F&M, with the support of the Icelandic Film Center. (International sales: Ljosband, Reykjavik.) Produced by Hronn Kristinsdottir, Anna Maria Karlsdottir. Co-producers, Egil Odegard, Mike Downey, Sam Taylor. Directed by Reynir Lyngdal. Screenplay, Thorsteinn Gudmundsson.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Vidir Sigurdsson; editor, Stefania Thors; music, Helgi Svavar Helgason; production designer, Egert Ketilsson. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, Oct. 23, 2012. (In Reykjavik Film Festival -- Icelandic Panorama.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Thorsteinn Gudmundsson, Brynhildur Gudjonsdottir, Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Thorhallur Sigurdsson, Lilja Gudrun Thorvaldsdottir, Maria Heba Thorkelsdottir, Valgeir H. Skagfjord.

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