Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FILM REVIEW: Thale (2012)


I kinda feel bad about my review for this film. I wanted to love it so much after many of my peers told me about the premise and execution. I heard it was done on a miniscule budget...so, I was already forgiving the film for its monetary constraints. But, alas...I'm here to tell you that I didn't enjoy Thale.

What the fuck is wrong with me?? I wondered this question during the closing credits of Thale. I even rewatched the entire thing...just to see if I missed anything. I watched both the English-dubbed and subtitled. And, yet....I still came away disappointed both times. I pondered on the chances of me renting the wrong film. Perhaps the film that all of my friends were raving about was something else. Thale? Thule? Thole? I rummaged through every possible wiki page I could find...and I came back to the same conclusion.

I didn't really care for Thale. And not because I didn't get it. I just honestly couldn't care less about everything going on.


Technically, there were some really great things about the film. For one...it is beyond impressive-looking, considering the reported $10,000 spent on the film. The cinematography is breath-taking and could easily be mistaken for a multi-million dollar picture. Even some of the FX is cool. The practical FX...not the crummy CGI. I enjoyed some of the characters in the film. Leo (Jon Sigve Skard), in particular, offered more of a well-rounded character than his crime-scene clean up partner, Elvis (Erlend Nervold)...who was the more skittish, bumbling "comic relief" of the two.

The story introduces us to both Leo and Elvis as a sort of dirty job/crime scene clean up service that stumble upon an old Norwegian folk legend in the basement of their next gig. A seductive forest creature known as the Huldra with a cow tail. In this particular retelling, they stumble upon the titular Thale (a physically demanding performance by the lovely Silje Reinamo), who seems to be both human and otherworldly. I won't reveal too many details concerning the rest of the film, other than the military gets involved while another batch of beings stalk everyone from the forest outside....just in case you would like to discover Thale  on your own.

There's this incessant babbling from the old guy who kidnaps finds Thale via an old tape recording that pretty much plays throughout the film and provides some poetic explanation of where she came from...as well as the care he took to keep her from taking off into the woods. It mostly gets irritating after awhile...and would actually make for an excellent sleep aid.


I suppose the biggest issue I had with the film was its tedious pacing. I'm all for the slow burn and the unfolding narrative. But, this film just took way too long to get going without any true payoff. I mean...I get that they discover the thing...and then the other things come to protect it and the thing that they discovered seems to have deeper things going on within itself that can do all kinds of amazing things to other normal people....and everything and everyone lives happily ever after. I guess I just wanted more. And I realize that's being unfair and asking too much of a film made for less than what a freakin' base model Nissan Versa costs these days. I guess it just wasn't my thing.

In all, Thale  is rich in eye candy and super impressive for a film made on the cheap. It has some really decent performances by most involved and it is refreshing to see an original premise like this one. However, it just never roped me into its world. I really wanted to love this film...but, when there's something like Troll Hunter  that exists from the same country, my expectations run pretty high. Who knows? Maybe you'll enjoy it, tho. Give it a try for a buck at your local RedBox and let's compare notes.





Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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