New from Peter Spedale on Be Movie See Movie: Movie Review: Troll

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When it comes to filmmaking there’s plenty of cross pollination across cultures. The best usually find the best right? The legendary Akira Kurosawa was influenced by John Ford’s Westerns, then the Italian Westerns were influenced by Kurosawa, which makes sense. I guess Norwegians decided the best filmmaking pollinizer was: Roland Emmerich? That’s right, Troll is very much in line with the US disaster movies like 2012, Independence Day, or Moonfall, but seeped in Norwegian folklore. Sweet, sign me up!

Paleontologist Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann) is working in northern Norway, about to uncover her first big fossil extraction. However, she’s quickly summoned by Andreas Isaksen (Kim Falck) who works for Norway’s prime minister Berit Moberg (Anneke von der Lippe) to Oslo to provide her expert opinion on an…incident. In the Dovre mountains, there was a giant “explosion” that killed many people. Most experts believe it to be something gas related, but Nora notices what appear to be giant footprints the “experts” refuse to believe. Following her gut, Nora is escorted by military captain Kris Holm (Mads Sjogard Pettersen) to her father Tobias’s (Gard B. Eidsvold) house. Before being discredited, Tobias was the prominent professor of Norwegian folklore, especially around trolls. Me suspect Tobias might be onto something…

Maybe Troll signals Roland Emmerich’s next move as a director. The cultural shift gives his type of disaster movies a nice shot in the arm. For those who don’t know, Norway tends to be a more secular, liberal society. Hence the exact opposite of the US. I nearly burst out laughing when Christianity plays a pretty significant role for the troll society, and the military here isn’t really celebrated, it’s widely mocked…but for being too coldly logical, not jingoistic. Environmental concerns play a large part as well in the proceedings: everyone’s worried about messing with nature for monetary gain. Thankfully, Troll does remind us that people in power are pretty universal everywhere, afraid of other powerful entities and ready to lash out with force if necessary, grounding the movie in some universality people can hook onto.

But the biggest reason to Netflix and chill to Troll is the action sequences are just hella fun. The Norwegian mountains/countryside already give the movie an epic backdrop with which to shoot on. The troll will remind you of the Lord of the Rings Ents eg the Tree creatures, looking like an outgrowth of the environment he came from. Director Roar Uthaug (amazing name) hides the troll from us just enough that first 45 minutes to scare the audience. Then, his big debut is pretty epically shot, looking as tall as the mountains he lives in. The requisite futile military sieges see the troll lay waste to the pitiful teeny tiny humans with guns. But the most fun is the final section. At this point, we’ve become inundated with Norwegian troll folklore, which provides clues as to how to stop the creature. The action sequences that follow hit that disaster movie sweet spot of being totally original, 85% cool, and 15% stupidly gutturally funny. There’s a car chase that’s so wonderfully insane I kept sitting up higher and higher, giddy at the lunacy onscreen.

What you see is what you get with Troll. This is something you can put on mute and pretty much follow along for the most part, the Netflix sweet spot. I do however, hope Netflix finds a way to put this in theaters, especially for Norway. Despite their troll infestation, the movie is an incredible travelogue to visit an amazing place.

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