The film debut of Catalan theater director Ferran Audi, “The Frost” is a contempo Norway-set update of Ibsen’s play “Little Eyolf.” But despite the injection of some southern blood, and numerous helicopter shots of snowscapes and fjords, this Spanish-Norwegian look at a grieving family remains emotionally cold and too legit-like. Beyond Scandinavia and Spain, the pic is on thin ice.
Norway’s Trond Espen Seim (“Troubled Water”) and Spain’s Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (“The Machinist”) — both name thesps locally — play Alfred and Rita, a couple on a collision course after the accidental death of their son. Biggest change to Ibsen’s original text is that Raul (Tristan Ulloa), the love interest of Alfred’s sister (newcomer Eva Morkeset, the best thing in the movie), also happens to be Rita’s brother, adding to the incestuous overtones. Dialogue in a mix of languages works reasonably well, even if the theatricality of the words doesn’t always match the realistic setting. Some of the more outlandish touches and characters, including a Pied Piper of Hamelin-like Rat Woman (Bibi Andersson, in a cameo), also strain credibility. At screening caught, HD lensing lacked detail in the brightest and darkest areas.