Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Thale (2012)

Sought this one out on the strength of this visual alone. Wotta sight!

At a glance:
Thale (pronounced TOH-LUH?) is an impressive indie effort built on Norse mythology (recent fare ranges from Thor to Troll Hunter), from which director Alexander Nordaas serves original tale. He was at hand at the recent Toronto International Film Festival to introduce the movie and share that it was apparently shot with just US$10k on a camera cheaper than a Canon 5D, just one lens throughout. We follow two crime scene cleaners (Jon Sigve Skard, Erlend Nervold) who stumble upon a spectacular discovery - a wild creature called huldra. Think naked blonde mermaid, minus fins, plus tail.
Bad news on the doorstep:
I didn't mind the cartoonish creatures, as most critics did. The most expensive CG work wouldn't have elevated this much. However, I did find it too slow meanderin at times. Could do with a few more edits and should've definitely focused on the magic of the animal and the dynamics of the relationships that follow.
Perennial wonderment:
Silje Reinåmo as the titular forest nymph. Would ya, could ya? I don't know, mate.
Reminds me of:
The Woman (2011), Deadgirl (2008) and The Girl Next Door (2007) but without the mythical spin, of course.
Most memorable line:
None - that's the problem.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
I think the strength of this movie lies in its clean, disquietin visuals but lacks a compellin story arc that would've made the movie more important. Robert Bell of Exclaim points out, "exposition and clumsy character development define the central mystery, with the occasional female castration and image of a mutilated ersatz vagina sewn up reminding us that the theme is all about female subjugation, as exacerbated by the naked woman running about stuffing food into her mouth like a wild animal". The misogyny is picked up on, among others, by Dread Central's Serena Whitney who warns that "those expecting Thale to be a frightening creature feature will be sorely disappointed as the title character is treated more like a mythical hermaphrodite than the lethal siren the trailer makes her out to be. Although there is no doubt that the director intended on making a weirdly touching and emotional film about the kindness of strangers in a callous world, it oddly comes off very contrived and substantially sexist at parts as the one thing that gives Thale power is her cow tail (which is undeniably phallic); and once it’s cut off, she is weak, frail and helpless until the two awkward male protagonists come to save her, conveying to (at least) female viewers everywhere that all a woman needs to build up the strength lying within is to have a man rescue her." I don't have the insight to appreciate that but it definitely fell short emotionally. Here's hopin that the director will attract investment for better movies from him in the future. For more information go visit the official Thale website or its corresponding Facebook page.★★1/2
Bonus material:

Some kinda dance gimmick for the movie's promo at Colosseum Kino, Norway.