"“The MC Hammer dance-off early on is also worth the price of the ticket alone…”"
Think of your favourite sporting comedies - the likes of Big Lebowski, Kingpin and Dodgeball, well that’s what King Curling is like - except its Norwegian and about the sport of curling.
King Curling is Ole Endresen’s debut feature, and follows the story of Truls Paulsen (Atle Antonsen), a perfectionist when on the ice, and an absolute madman off it – suffering heavily of OCD.
Having spent ten years in a psychiatric hospital, he learns that his mentor is in desperate need of a lung transplant, but he can’t afford the costs. So, against his doctor’s will, he decides to make a drastic return to curling, to defeat his nemesis Stefan Ravndal (Kare Conradi) and win the cash prize that can pay for his friends operation.
As the second Norwegian film I’ve had the pleasure to see at this years London Film Festival, the other being Headhunters, King Curling could not be more different. Headhunters is a classy, intense thriller, whilst this film is absurd and absolutely hilarious.
The characters, Truls, his wife Sigrid (LinnSkaber) and his fellow team mates on the curling team are all absolutely mad. Completely eccentric and peculiar, and when you combine that with the colourful and vibrant set, (the film aesthetically resembling a sweet shop), it made for a very amusing movie.
At points it was very daft, but it kept a consistent witty humour throughout. There were some scenes on the ice, where you had characters slipping and sliding everywhere, two groups of the uncoolest men you could possibly imagine, going head to head in one of the less celebrated winter sports - as all of the big, important curling games are played in front of very small crowds. The sport certainly wasn’t glorified.
This is what stands the film apart with American films of a similar nature –where you have an ambitious sportsman, desperate to get his team back together for one last glory, as the Norwegians – perhaps taking on a little more pragmatic view than Hollywood, does not include a big finale, where the team ends up at a world championship or some sort, playing live on television, where we then seen intrigued security guards watching on, or people viewing in the bath. Instead, it’s underplayed and the sports unpopularity is one of the films funniest aspects.
There is also one scene where Turls visits his mentor in hospital, and when pulling off his friends gas mask so that he can hear some potentially final words of wisdom, he then, when attempting to put the mask back on gets it tangled with his mentors glasses, as he proceeds to then a take a long while trying to put them both back on - a scene which had me in stitches. And the MC Hammer dance-off early on is also worth the price of the ticket alone.
We barely see any of the actual curling itself, as there seems to be more emphasising on the arrangement and cleaning of the ball before setting it to ice. Which, in all honesty, is probably a good thing.
It’s a really quirky, eccentric film – perhaps a little too much in some parts, but it provides enough material for much laughter throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has only enhanced my endeavour to discover more Norwegian cinema.