|Original title:||Sonner av Norge|
|Genre:||Tragicomedy, Drama, Comedy|
|Production country:||Norwegen/Schweden/Dänemark/Frankreich 2011|
|Running time:||Approx. 87 min.|
Norway, late 1970s: young Nikolaj (Asmund Hoeg) grows up quite carefree in an unconventional hippie family, where father Magnus (Sven Nordin) likes to decorate the Christmas tree with bananas. But the family's eccentricity is abruptly destroyed when mother Lone (Sonja Richter) dies in an accident. While Nikolaj's younger brother stays with relatives, he has to stay behind with his father, who is shaken by a deep depression. More and more Nikolaj takes refuge in the world of punk, rebelling and rioting without being put in his place by his father. All attempts to provoke Magnus fail. But even when his father seems to have awakened from his rigor mortis, Magnus fails to see that his son would need a real father to keep him from falling deeper into the hole of drugs and violence that he is balancing dangerously close to the edge of right now...
Sons of Norway begins with wonderfully quirky humor that bodes well for an unconventional comedy with some very bitingly wicked wit. There are moments throughout the story when this hope is then confirmed. But all in all Jens Lien's tragicomedy leaves a rather disappointing impression. This is certainly not because of the very good set or the good actors. Especially Sven Nordin, known from the cult comedy Elling, delivers a very good performance as a very unconventional father on the brink of insanity.
What hurts the film, on the other hand, is the somehow indecisive staging. Jens Lien has adapted the autobiographical novel Theory and Practice by Nikolaj Frobenius, who also adapted the screenplay, as a somewhat half-baked mix of comedy and drama. It succeeds very well in the whimsically humorous moments. Especially scenes like the summer vacation at the nudist camp or the confrontation between Magnus and his son's school principal are really quite wonderful. But around them there are too many moments that somehow seem inappropriate or even trivial. As a viewer you sometimes wonder what the story actually wants to say or who the movie wants to address. The fact that the characters seem to be only partly sympathetic additionally strengthens this unbalanced impression.
Whether Sons of Norway works as an homage to punk, I can't judge, because I never really got involved with this music genre. At the very least, fans of the Sex Pistols will enjoy a small guest appearance by Johnny Rotten. But even if the attitude towards life of the 70s generation and their rebellion against their anti-authoritarian hippie parents are well captured, the story still lacks a really engaging build-up that connects the handful of really good scenes to a coherent whole.
If you like Nordic entertainment of the slightly weirder kind, you will certainly be very well entertained here in some moments. Nevertheless, a recommendation can only be given conditionally, as it is hard to be really captivated by the story or its characters. A nice film in parts, but all in all quite inconsequential and therefore only: worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp