Sunday, February 9, 2014

Thale (2012)

Woke up to a blanket of snow over the city. This was unusual - but a good reason to celebrate the lovely site by curling up on the couch and doing nothing. While going about my nothingness, and by that I mean scrolling through my Roku channels, I managed to stumble across an intriguing Norwegian film on the Snag Films channel.

At first glance of the cover image I thought this movie might be more geared for children. Then I read the first line in the description: "Norwegian folklore turns out to be real when Leo and Elvis encounter Thale in a basement."



Added bonus, there's a Norwegian dude named Elvis.

From the very beginning Thale moves slowly but deliberately, like someone who appears to be aimlessly but pleasantly moving about a house yet is actually hiding bombs and thumb tacks under pillows and chair seats. The smart and well placed dichotomy through-out the film was one of my favorite elements.

For instance, the opening scene is gross and bloody but that's because the two main characters (Leo and Elvis) were cleaning up the mess. The film is about the woods and nature but most of it takes place in a hidden basement. Science and mythology dance cheek to cheek. All the while the protagonists must contend with scary yet normal, albeit sudden life changes when they meet Thale, a representation of both natural and forced (abnormal) evolution.

Now, as an American with rather deep, recent and powerful Danish and Norwegian roots, I was surprised that I could not - for the life of me - figure out what creature Thale was supposed to be. I grew up on stories, legends, and bad children threats of what I thought were all the Norse creatures. Still, Thale stumped me until the very end. I forced myself not to ask the internets for help until the movie was over. Once the movie ended I pleaded for Wikipedia's advice.

Because I had such a pleasant discovery experience, I am not going to relay what Thale is here. If you already know or find out elsewhere, fine, but I think the element of surprise plays a rather powerful role in this film.

Thale is a lovely, suspenseful film, and I believe a bit of an ode to the beauty of mystical creatures. Not over-the-top scary but down-right-chilly. Goes well with snow, warmth, a good friend, and perhaps a fine ale from Odin's Brewing Company. Well done, Thale.

To get you started, here is the movie trailer:

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