Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This is the story of a middle-aged man, who is afraid of going out, and an intellectually challenged sex mad virgin, who looks like Gerard Depardieu.

Per Christian Ellefsen's portrayal of the one who stays in reaches a level of perfection against which future comic performances will be judged. Elling has always lived with his mother and when she dies, he is taken into care, because he cannot cope with social interaction. His roommate in the mental home is Kjell (Sven Nordin), who would find scrambling eggs a challenge.

They are released from the institution together and set up house in a small apartment in Oslo. Elling is fastidious and paranoid, while Kjell is expansive and clumsy. "I have always had two enemies," Elling says. "Dizziness and anxiety." Kjell fantasises about carnal knowledge with the neurotic girl upstairs.

Elling discovers a talent for poetry and the courage to leave examples of his work amongst tins of sauerkraut at the supermarket, signed E. Quite soon, the mysterious E has been dubbed The Sauerkraut Poet and is discussed on local TV programmes.

The charm of the film comes from an amalgamation of opposites and how, in some organic way, the two men become dependant upon each other.

Based on Ingvar Ambjornsen's play, Blood Brothers, and cleverly adapted for the screen by Axel Hellstenius, the movie has been a huge hit in Norway. It deserves an equally enthusiastic reception worldwide.

No one should be deprived of watching Elling's walk.

Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2002
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A pair of oddballs from the mental institution set up house in an Oslo apartment.
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Director: Petter Naess

Writer: Axel Hellstenius, based on the play Blood Brothers by Ingvar Ambjornsen

Starring: Per Christian Ellefsen, Sven Nordin, Per Christensen, Jorgen Langhelle, Marit Pia Jacobsen

Year: 2001

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: Norway


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