Directed By Aleksander Nordass
Norwegian with English Subtitles
Silje Reinamo as Thale
Erlend Nervold as Elvis
Jon Sigve Skard as Leo
Morten Andresen as Hvittkledd
Roland Astrand as Voice
Sunniva Lien as Young Thale
"Thale" is based on a mythical character in Nordic folklore called the "huldra".
According to the myth a huldra is a beautiful creature with female attributes living deep in the woods. It is said that it seduces men that work in the woods by humming a beautiful song, and they never return to their village.
A lot of good movies have been coming out of Norway and the other Scandinavian countries for a long time and I have had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of them here. First the superb and darkly comic 'Jackpot', then 'Troll Hunter' and this little gem of a movie.
I've always thought that Norway has a superb history of folklore, maybe even one of the best in Europe and this movie is based on one of those folklore myths.
This piece of folklore concerns a tailed creature with female attributes that can seduce men while living in the woods only for those men to never return. If you're thinking that this sounds a bit like 'The Blair Witch Project' but with creatures then you would be doing this movie a major disservice as it's much more than that.
What we have here is a movie that uses the CGI at the end sparingly and really uses the budget to its full protential.
We have a great story, although it does have a couple of minor plot holes, that really suckers the viewer in and grips them to the very end of the story. One of the reasons for this is the fantastic performance by the three leads. The best of these being Silje Reinamo, who gives an incredibly brave performance as Thale. She manages to completely own each scene she is in with her subtle facial expressions and reactions to what is going on around her. For someone to have a silent performance and yet still be the one that makes the biggest impression then that's the mark of a talent that is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Erlend Nervold, as Elvis, and Jon Sigve Skard, as Leo, both give very restrained and subtle performances. In a movie such as this it's easy to fall in to melodrama but these two really keep it simple. Reactions are kept to a minimum in that when they do react majorly to something or someone, it's much more of a shock than if they were to over react to everything, which seems to be the norm for movies like this. Nervold was fantastic as the nervy, scared Elvis and Skard was fantastic as Leo, who doesn't seem to let anything get to him yet also makes the viewer feel like he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
I also loved how much of a 360 this movie made. At the beginning you see blood, guts, a dead body and Elvis throwing up all because of the sheer gross nature of what he has seen yet the rest of the movie is completely different and much more psychological. Normally I would count that as a failing because it would make the movie disjointed nine times out of ten but here it doesn't. For some strange reason it just works so when the ending does come and you see some of the creatures, it comes as much more of a shock than if there had had been blood, guts and gore all the time.
All in all, a wonderfully shot and acted movie that gives a subtle and beautiful story room to breath and to grow. While I have put down horror as one of the genres that it is in, it's more of a dark fantasy like 'Pan's Labyrinth' so if you like that movie then you will most definitely love this absolute gem of a movie.
'Thale' is released to buy on DVD on March 25th