Being touted as Iceland’s answer to Pedro Almodovar, Baltasar Kormákur, who made “101 Reykjavik” has a long way to go as far as I’m concerned. The fun of seeing places we visited in Reykjavik back in 2016 soured as the protagonist proved to be a lazy 30 year old creep happy to lay around his mother’s apartment and watch porn.
The set-up of having a hot blooded Spanish flamenco dance teacher serve as his wake-up call is way too cutsie and taking it further by having the dancer fall in love with his mother is even more contrived. The movie sure makes winter in Reykjavik look excruciating (which I don’t doubt that it is) and the people come off as flattened caricatures of drunks, layabouts, harpies, and losers.
All of this could have worked in the film’s favor but having Creep Number One do a complete about face in attitude in response to the birth of his mother’s girlfriend’s baby was a total letdown. And that closing scene? Bah! I wasted an hour and a half so you won’t have to.
I keep trying movies by Icelandic directors and am consistently disappointed (“Of Horses and Men” being the exception to the rule and even that had some bumpy spots). Iceland has a long way to go to get to the level of cinema coming out of Finland, Sweden, and Norway but I hope they don’t give up!