Friday, August 1, 2014

Land Ho!

I really didn't know anything about Land Ho! when I wandered into the theatre.
It's the story of two ex-brother-in-laws trying to find a spark of youth in their old age. So they take a trip to Iceland, a pretty cool location for a movie if I do say so myself. But the country's scoping beauty and nearly endless locations of interest kept me in the movie more than the story itself.

Earl Lynn Nelson was overbearing as his character called for, but (and this is not really his fault) this part was written as almost nothing more than a dirty old man... with a heart I suppose. Yet it was difficult to sit there and listen to him turn every single thing into a sex pun. Paul Eenhoorn on the other hand was given a far more subtle task. He played the shy, quiet man of the group. Getting over a divorce is hard, but when Eenhoorn acts through the trope it feels more like the loss of a wife to him is as harsh as death itself. I really enjoyed his performance. And while there is an argument to be made that Nelson's dirty old man was a necessary balance, the pacing of the film seemed to allow for Eenhoorn's role to shine through a great deal better.

Land Ho! is a bizarre kind of movie because it tries to straddle a very dry comedy with a somewhat more ethereal pace and setting. I wouldn't really call it a comedy myself, but it's clear the filmmakers wanted it to be one. And rather awkwardly, the hour and a half runtime actually managed to feel too long which is obviously not a good sign. But I cannot call it a bad movie either. There is something really intriguing in this film. It may be the location of Iceland. But I still walked out in a positive mood. Perhaps it is secretly life affirming and works on a more emotional level than I realize. The slowness associated with old age but seen from far away, where life feels like it is moving so much faster the older you get. I'm not sure if any of that is what the filmmakers were actually going for, but if it is, they did a solid job.
I can't put this at the top of my must see list for 2014, but it's certainly not at the bottom either.

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