After Troll Hunter, it was inevitable that sooner or later we’d see yet another supernatural Norwegian export based on folklore, looking to build on a similar success. Whereas with Troll Hunter I had expectations and an incline as to what the film would be like, with Thale, I hadn’t a clue.
Director Aleksander Nordaas doesn’t build up to much in the opening scenes. Cleaners Elvis and Leo are introduced to us as they are clearing up the house of a recently deceased woman, not helped by the fact that the former cannot stop vomiting. A humorous tone from the outset, Thale is immediately an ambiguous film to distinguish, is it a comedy? A horror? A black comedy? The two are then sent to a deserted house in the woods (standard) to clear out the body of an elderly man, who seemingly died of unknown causes. There they start to investigate the basement and discover that all is definitely not as it seems, especially when a young, very distressed woman leaps out of a bath and attacks Elvis (naked I might add). For the majority of the film it is just the three of them, waiting for our protagonists’ work colleagues to come for back-up, until outside forces intervene.
Elvis and Leo are represented superbly. Their characters are thought out and immediately we get a sense of who they are and how they their story will pan out. Leo is a bit of a coward to begin with, which naturally defines him as an anti-hero later on, represented by his relationship with the mysterious Thale. Elvis is very laid-back – almost excruciatingly so and yet factors come into play that ensure viewers sympathise rather than grow tired of him. Thale wanders through the film in a state of limbo, not quite sure who she is or who to trust and even as the credits roll, it is a mystery as to where she came from and why. Much of the film is like this. Thale is watchable and the acting is of a high quality but there are so many unanswered questions, which sometimes is OK – frustrating but if they’re relevant then fair enough, however, if there’s little point in the mystery – if there’s no follow up then that is just plain annoying. Things just don’t seem to go anywhere and as an audience we are deprived, in my opinion of too much to truly get everything we possibly could. This should and definitely had potential to be a great film and yet something holds it back… Whether it is deliberate or a script flaw, I don’t know but I was disappointed. In saying this, watch it yourself and make your own mind up, even if it is to experience something different.
Thale is released on DVD, Monday 25th March.]]>