Starring: Tómas Lemarquis, Elín Hansdóttir, Anna Friðriksdóttir
Director: Dagur Kári
Running Time: 93 mins
Nói The Albino (Nói albinói) is an Icelandic film about a teenager living in a remote town who spends his life skipping school and breaking rules. Bored, he begins to dream of escaping his hometown with the girl who works in the petrol station.
If you want bleak yet brilliantly funny comedy-dramas, then the Nordic countries are the best place to look. Nói The Albino takes that genre to yet another level by adding an extra blend of Icelandic isolation, making for a surprisingly powerful and immersive film that also succeeds with a darkly comedic story, one that’s hugely engrossing to watch from start to finish.
The one thing that really struck me about this film is that, despite being quite a slow, quiet and not visually thrilling watch, it’s still really entertaining throughout. Whilst it’s not edge-of-your-seat thrills nor a side-splitting comedy, the thing with Nói The Albino is that its strange and comedic bleakness makes it fantastically engrossing.
And whilst it may look at first like you’re setting up for an old 1980s European drama, this film manages to surprise you time and time again by bringing very fresh modern humour to the table, which consistently made me laugh and smile, and amidst the clear bleakness of everything on screen, the movie’s humour is something to absolutely cherish.
Of course, this isn’t meant to be a raucous laughter fest. On the whole, whilst the comedy drives the entertainment factor and keeps everything a bit lighter and more easy-going, there’s a really heartfelt story at the centre of the film. Being of the Nordic persuasion, they couldn’t just go about a quirky personal story in the Hollywood way, so everything here is just as bleak and depressing as it is nice.
That awkward balance always makes for some good laughs, but when you get down to the central story about Nói’s personal wishes and hopes, the reasons behind his unruly behaviour, and even a cute, awkward romance, there’s really a lot to like about the film.
Moving on from the story, the performances here are very strong. Not just Tómas Lemarquis in the main role, but Elín Hansdóttir as his love, and a whole host of supporting characters who play the town’s adults that try to set Nói on a straight path in life, give fantastic performances that match the film’s brilliant comedic and dramatic vibes, all the while adding an excellent degree of human emotion to the story, making it all the more engrossing.
Overall, I really liked Nói The Albino. It does exactly what a stereotypical independent Nordic movie should do, providing a brilliantly bleak and quiet drama with an unexpected level of emotion, all complemented by a fantastic brand of dark comedy that makes for a both engrossing and enjoyable watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.