101 reasons to grin

101 Reykjavik (Iceland)

Directed by Baltasar Kormakur

(Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Victoria Abril, Hanna Maria Karlsdottir,

Baltasar Kormakur)


Last spring at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, people were lined up around the block to get into the festival’s second showing of 101 Reykjavik at the Oak Street Cinema. Based solely on word of mouth, the buzz surrounding the first showing was enough to get everyone to crawl out from beneath their rocks to see Kormakur’s directorial debut. If there is one film that warrants waiting in front of Campus Pizza just for a chance to sit in the most uncomfortable seats in the Metro Area, this ridiculously funny flick is it.

101 Reykjavik offers its audience an intelligent look at the mixed-up life of the quintessential slacker, Hlynur (deftly portrayed by Hilmir Snaer Gudnason). Still living with his mother as he approaches the age of 30, his sole source of income is the disability checks that he receives from the government. Hlynur is proud of himself if he wakes up before the sun sets and believes that he would have an easier time waking up earlier if porn was on TV in the morning.

As Hlynur sleeps his days away, his mom (played by Hanna Maria Karlsdottir) is discovering that she has romantic feelings for her dance instructor, Lola (Victoria Abril). As soon as his mother brings Lola home, Hlynur begins to fall for her, too. As mother and son fall for Lola, the musician behind the score, Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz notoriety), gets to play with the musical motif of instrumental versions of the Kinks’ classic, Lola.

While the film centers around this bizarre love triangle, many of the peripheral storylines draw the biggest laughs. In fact, I don’t think that I have laughed as hard at a scene in any movie as I did during Hlynur’s Christmas daydream. While spending the holiday with his dull relatives, Hlynur rips a shotgun off the wall and unloads on his family.

Gudnason plays Hlynur with such skill that his apathy, sloth and all-around cruelty are completely dismissible when judging him as a person because you want to like him so much. If Kormakur’s debut is at all indicative of what he can do as a filmmaker, I will be the first one in line outside of the Oak Street when his next film plays there.

-Josh Duggan