Film Review: Under the Tree (2017)

A savagely dark comedy from Iceland, Under the Tree/Undir trénu is a film to look out for

“It had nothing to do with emotion”

Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson’s Under the Tree (or Undir trénu in his natice Icelandic) is proof that there’s nothing so dangerous as suburbia, no matter which country you’re in. A wickedly dark, sharply comic and tensely plotted film, it scorches through the false comfort of liberal pretensions about loving your neighbour and suggests something far more unsettling about human nature.

The first crack in the veneer comes from afar. Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir’s Agnes walks in on Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson’s Atli having a hand shandy to an old sex tape of him and another woman. With nowhere left to go when she kicks him out, he moves back in with his parents in their suburban home. They are otherwise distracted though by a long-simmering dispute with their neighbours about a tree that casts a shadow over some prime sunbathing real estate. Continue reading “Film Review: Under the Tree (2017)”

DVD Review: Trapped

 “Something evil came with that storm
‘I think it was already here…'”

There must come a point when we run out of exceptional European dramas to import but thankfully, it doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon. This time, we’re looking to Iceland with Trapped, a 10 part crime mystery drama that simply reaffirms the extraordinary quality of Nordic Noir, whilst establishing its own niche therein. Created by Baltasar Kormákur (who directed last year’s Everest) and written by Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley, it has reportedly received the highest budget by far ever invested into an Icelandic series and well, it shows.

Set in Seyðisfjörður, a remote town on the coast of eastern Iceland, Trapped begins with the discovery of a dismembered torso in the water at the same time that the weekly ferry from Denmark has arrived. Starting the investigation is Chief of Police Andri with colleagues Hinrika and Ásgeir but their job is complicated by the arrival of an almighty blizzard which prevents the Reykavik police from flying in to take over. It also means that no-one can leave, by land or by sea, and so whoever committed the crime can’t have left town… Continue reading “DVD Review: Trapped”