You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mushrooming

A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup "Mushrooming."

With:
With: Raivo E. Tamm, Elina Reinold, Juhan Ulfsak, Ullar Saaremae, Hilje Murel, Hendrik Toompere Jr. (Estonian dialogue)

A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the mindless behavior of politicians and celebrities. Enough of an odd beast to attract attention, especially from genre fests, this laugh-and-thrill combo could also ‘shroom in ancillary.

Aging elected official Aadu (Raivo E. Tamm, convincingly snooty) has claimed expenses for a vacation to Peru, which a dirt-digging journo uncovers while the politician is on a domestic mushroom-picking trip with his gullible but still dominant spouse, Viivi (Elina Reinold). At her insistence, they pick up a man they meet at a gas station, Zak (Juhan Ulfsak), a drunk, black-clad singer whom Aadu understandably mistakes for a shady type.

Several wrong left turns later, the strange trio is stranded in an unknown part of the woods, where Zak promises to watch the car while they pop out to look for edible fungi. On a basic story level, what’s in store next is pretty standard stuff, including the bickering and subsequent (unplanned) separation of Viivi and Aadu; the timorous Zak’s encounter with a scary redneck (Ullar Saaremae); and the characters’ arrival at a secluded chalet in the forest that seems inhabited, but with no owner in sight.

Hussar cleverly uses the technical means at his disposal to give the predictable midsection a distinctly local flavor, such as the roving camerawork that turns the masses of conspicuously straight tree trunks into a hypnotic, almost abstract labyrinth. Arian Levin’s score helps smooth the occasional transition from straightforward drama into thriller/horror territory, even if the frequent tonal shifts aren’t always entirely convincing.

What sets “Mushrooming” apart from its lost-in-the-woods brethren are the events of the unusual third act, in which the pic’s satirical intentions are more clearly visible, and the earlier glimpses of character development really start to pay off.

The small cast is strong, with each actor convincingly inhabiting his or her role, suggesting at least a smidgen of individuality that turns stock characters into believable human beings. The technical crew was likely almost as tiny as the cast, but is equally on the ball.

Mushrooming

Estonia

Production: An Allfilm production. Produced by Piret Tibbo-Hudgins. Directed, written by Toomas Hussar.

Crew: Camera (color), Rein Kotov; editor, Tambet Tasuja; music, Arian Levin; production designer, Kristina Louk; costume designer, Eva-Maria Gramakovski; sound (Dolby Digital), Ivo Felt. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (East of the West), July 1, 2012. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Raivo E. Tamm, Elina Reinold, Juhan Ulfsak, Ullar Saaremae, Hilje Murel, Hendrik Toompere Jr. (Estonian dialogue)

More Film

  • Claire Foy'The Girl in the Spiders

    Claire Foy Previews Intense 'Girl in the Spider's Web' at CinemaCon

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

  • Anthony Mackie, Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz

    'Miss Bala,' Animated Spider-Man Show Sony's Commitment to Diverse Heroes

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

  • New 'Venom' Trailer: Tom Hardy Debuts

    Tom Hardy Debuts New 'Venom' Trailer at CinemaCon (Watch)

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino'Once Upon

    Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio Tease 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

    'Jumanji' Sequel to Release in December 2019

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

  • Cargo

    Tribeca Film Review: ‘Cargo’

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

  • Visitors laugh as they attend a

    Saudi Arabia Movie Ticket Prices Could Hit $35, AMC Chief Says

    A stuck-up politician with a PR problem, his chatterbox wife and a famous but clueless goth rocker get lost in a Baltic forest in the diverting if not entirely smooth genre mashup “Mushrooming.” Estonian theater and TV helmer Toomas Hussar mixes thriller and horror elements with Baltic humor in his feature debut, broadly satirizing the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content